The Times newspaper on the 1861 'Trent Affair'
The Times newspaper on the 1861 'Trent Affair'

Royal NavyMiscellaneous
Royal NavyMiscellaneous

On 8 November 1861, several months after the start of the American Civil War, a Union warship, the USS San Jacinto, intercepted the British mail packet Trent and forcibly removed two Confederate Commissioners, James Mason and John Slidell, en route to London and Paris. This incident led to military tension between the Union and Great Britain, however the crisis was eventually resolved when the Lincoln administration released the Commissioners and disavowed the action of the San Jacinto's commander, but did not issue a formal apology. The Commissioners were allowed to resume their voyage, but failed in their goal of achieving diplomatic recognition of the Confederacy.

Extracts from the Times newspaper
Th 28 November 1861



By the arrival here this morning of the West India mail steamer La Plata, Captain Weller, most important intelligence has been received, involving questions affecting the relations existing between this country and the Federal Government of America. The mail steamer Trent, Captain Moir, was intercepted by the American steamer San Jacinto, commanded by Captain Wilks, while on her passage from Havannah to St. Thomas, and under force of arms the accredited Commissioners to Europe from the Southern Confederacy, Messrs. Mason and Slidell, were taken prisoners, and forcibly removed from the Trent to the San Jacinto. This act was committed in defiance of the joint remonstrances of the Commissioners, Captain Moir, and Commander Williams, the naval officer in charge of the mails on board the Trent.

The San Jacinto is a first-class steam sloop of war, of 1,446 tons, and carrying 13 guns. She was refitted at this port in the year 1854.

It appears from the statements which we have received that the San Jacinto, Captain Wilks, arrived at Havannah on or about the 2d of November, from the Coast of Africa, bound to New York. She coaled and sailed again on the 4th inst. At this time it was well known at Havannah that Messrs. Mason and Slidell, with their suites, were at that place, having arrived there in the steamer Theodora, which vessel ran the blockade at Charleston, These gentlemen had not kept their presence a secret, as from the moment of their landing at Havannah they were unquestionably under the protection of the Spanish flag. Passages to Southampton were booked for them by the British Royal Mail steamer which was to sail from Havannah for St. Thomas on the 7th inst., on which day they duly embarked on board the Trent as follows:-
Mr. Slidell, accredited Commissioner from the Confederate States to France, accompanied by his wife, son, and three daughters.
Mr. Mason, accredited Commissioner from the Confederate States to England.
Mr. Eustis, secretary to Mr. Slidell, accompanied by his wife.
Mr. M'Farland, secretary to Mr. Mason.

The Trent sailed from Havannah at 8 o'clock on the morning of the 7th, and nothing occurred worthy of notice till about noon on the 8th, when, in the narrow passage of the old Bahama Channel, opposite the Paradon Grande lighthouse, a steamer was observed ahead, apparently waiting, but showing no colours. On approaching her, Captain Moir, of the Trent, hoisted the British ensign, which met with no response until the two vessels were within about a furlong of each other, when the stranger fired a shot across the Trent's bow, and hoisted the American flag. This proceeding was quite contrary to all acknowledged law, as when a vessel of war wishes another vessel to stop it is customary to fire first a blank cartridge. The Trent was still holding on her way, when a shell was fired from a long pivot gun on the American's deck forward, which burst about 100 yards from the Trent's bow. Captain Moir immediately stopped the Trent, as the American had her broadside of guns run out, and men at quarters ready to fire. Captain Moir then hailed her, and the American captain replied that he wished to send a boat onboard. A boat, containing two officers and about 20 men, armed with muskets, pistols, and cutlasses, then shoved off and boarded the Trent, and demanded a list of the passengers, which the captain refused to give. The officer commanding the boat stated that the name of the frigate was the "San Jacinto," of which he was the first lieutenant, and further that they had received most positive information that certain passengers were on board, whom he would take out. This was also refused. Commander Williams, R.N., the naval agent in charge of Her Majesty's mails, with Captain Moir, positively objected to their being taken, denying their right to take any person whatever from under the English flag.

The lieutenant then called out the names of the before-mentioned Commissioners and secretaries, and said that those were the persons he sought, and that he would take them at all hazards. The four gentlemen, who were standing near, answered to their names, and requested to know what was wanted of them. The lieutenant stated that he wished to take them on board the man-of-war, to which they replied that they would not go until they were taken by force, and, turning to Captain Moir, Mr. Slidell said, "We claim the protection of the British flag." On the captain's again refusing to give up the passengers, the lieutenant said he should take charge of the ship. Commander Williams, R.N., then spoke as follows, - viz., "In this ship I am the representative of Her Majesty's Government, and I call upon the officers of the ship and the passengers generally to mark my words when, in the name of that Government, and in distinct language, I denounce this as an illegal act - an act in violation of international law - an act, indeed, of wanton piracy, which, had we the means of defence, you would not dare to attempt." The lieutenant then beckoned to the frigate, and three boats, containing 30 marines and about 60 sailors, officered and heavily armed, came alongside. The men at once leaped on deck, sword in hand. After some more parleying Messrs. Slidell, Mason, Eustis, and M'Farland were taken and forced into the boat. The American went back to the cabins and took possession of the baggage, and sent it with their prisoners on board the San Jacinto. Mr. Slidell said, as the boat shoved off, that he expected redress from the British Government for this outrage while under the protection of its flag, and called upon the English captain to represent the case properly. The lieutenant stopped on board, having ordered the boat to return. He then stated that he had orders to take Captain Moir and his papers on board the San Jacinto, and that the Trent was to be moved nearer. Captain Moir replied, "You will find me on my quarter deck; if you want me, you will have to come there for me," and he immediately walked on deck.

The lieutenant, however, went into one of the boats, and told Captain Moir that he could proceed. The boat pulled for the San Jacinto, and the Trent steamed ahead for St. Thomas.

The indignation felt on board the Trent by every person, of whatever nation, can better be imagined than described. A considerable number of foreigners of different nations were among the passengers, and it is affirmed that every man would have fought if called upon to do so; but, with such an opposing force, and the unarmed condition of the Trent, it was deemed impossible to make any defence.

The officers of the San Jacinto asked for provisions to maintain the prisoners, as they stated that they were short of stores. Captain Moir told the four gentlemen that at their request he would supply what was needed, and they having expressed a wish that he should do so, all the necessaries were supplied.

The despatches of the Confederate Emissaries escaped the vigilance of the boarding officers, and they have all arrived safely here per La Plata.

The families of Mr. Slidell and of Mr. Eustis were urged by the first lieutenant of the San Jacinto to accompany them, but, being informed on inquiry that it was probable they would be separated from them on their arrival at New York, they declined the offer, and have arrived in the Plata. On the arrival of the steamer in the dock the whole of the party went on board the Nashville, which is now lying near the entrance of the graving dock, where they were received with every attention and kindness, and left for London by the 3 o'clock train. One of the gentlemen of the party has the despatches in his possession, which he, of course, keeps in close custody till his arrival in London.

Besides the mails and a large quantity of passengers, the Trent had a large amount of specie on board from Mexico for England, as well as a very valuable cargo of general merchandise.

It is stated by the friends of Messrs. Slidell and Mason, who have come home, that the lieutenant of the San Jacinto said this was the most painful act he had ever been called upon to perform, but he was compelled to do it, acting under orders.

LIVERPOOL, Wednesday.

Soon after noon to-day a private telegram was received in Liverpool announcing the boarding of the Trent by a Federal vessel of war and the forcible removal of the Southern Commissioners. The intelligence spread with wonderful rapidity, and occasioned great excitement among all classes. On 'Change the utmost indignation was expressed, and in a very brief space of time the following placard was posted:-
"Outrage on the British Flag. - The Southern Commissioners Forcibly Removed From A British Mail Steamer.
"A public meeting will be held in the Cotton Sales-room at 3 o'clock."

In compliance with the preceding announcement a meeting was held in the Cotton Sales-room at 3 o'clock, which was crowded to excess by nearly all the gentlemen frequenting the Exchange. The meeting was quite as remarkable for enthusiasm as numbers. After several gentlemen had been requested to preside the chair was occupied by Mr. James Spence, and on taking the chair he proceeded to read the subjoined resolution:-
"That this meeting, having heard with indignation that an American Federal ship of war has forcibly taken from a British mail steamer certain passengers who were proceeding peaceably under the shelter of our flag from one neutral port to another, do earnestly call upon the Government to assert the dignity of the British flag by requiring prompt reparation for this outrage."

On hearing this resolution read the meeting expressed in a most unmistakeable manner the feeling by which it was pervaded in favour of the views included in it. When silence had been in some measure restored, the Chairman remarked that when the news of the outrage reached this town the feeling created was one of surprise, mingled with indignation. He remarked that we had all heard of the sacred dignity of the American flag. That dignity, he proceeded to say, was a means by which the persons engaged in the nefarious slave trade could at once protect themselves by hoisting the American flag, which fully enabled them to resist any attempt to search such vessel. He trusted it would not be allowed that men prosecuting so nefarious a trade should be protected, and that men peacefully proceeding on their own affairs, under the protection of our flag, might be forcibly taken out of our ships. (Cheers.) On the contrary, he believed that the people of this country would not by any means permit such an outrage. (Cheers.) He said, in having agreed to take the chair on this occasion, he did so without reluctance or regret, and he felt deeply that he only expressed the feeling, not merely of the meeting, but of the community in general, when he said it was the duty of the people to press on the Government the imperative necessity of vindicating the honour and dignity of the British name and flag. (Loud and continued cheering.)

Mr. H. C. Chapman, as a mere matter of form, moved that the resolution be adopted.

Mr. A. Forwood said he felt much pleasure in seconding the adoption of a resolution which must find an echo in every English bosom.

Mr. John Campbell while fully concurring in the propriety of preventing any outrage from being offered to the British flag - a sentiment which was universally acknowledged throughout the kingdom - said he felt assured that there was no Englishman, Irishman, or Scotchman who would not at once, and promptly, resent any insult offered to our flag. (Cheers.) "While feeling this in the strongest manner and to the fullest extent, he considered that there still remained some reason to doubt whether the facts related, and acted on by calling this meeting, were in reality a breach of international law. (Cries of " No, no !") He referred at some length to the opinions of the law officers of the Crown, as being in some measure inclined to show that such a step as that taken with respect to the Southern Commissioners was justifiable under the existing state of international law. In conclusion, he proposed a direct negative to the resolution. As, however, he was not desirous of doing anything which would create a spirit of dissension, he was willing to adopt any middle course which could be suggested, and urged the propriety of postponing the consideration of the subject till to-morrow (this day).

The Chairman suggested that, to meet the objection thrown out by Mr. Campbell, it would be sufficient to strike out of the resolution the words "by requiring prompt reparation for this outrage."

Mr. Campbell said he could not concur in the suggestion of the chairman, and must decline to do so.

Mr. Torr expressed his concurrence in the views put forward by Mr. Campbell, and in doing so met with frequent interruption. He argued that the present meet was hastily convened, and had in its proceedings already prejudged the case, with the merits of which the meeting was unacquainted. He insisted that there was no reason to believe that the responsible Ministers of the Crown would allow any insult to be offered to the British flag. (Loud cheers.) He urged the advantage of proceeding calmly in considering a case such as the present, which, if prematurely urged to extremity, might result in involving this country in a war. (Great interruption.) He contended that to urge on the Government a particular line of conduct in respect of the proceedings now under consideration was impolitic and unjust. He would not, and no Englishman would, advocate putting up with insult; but in the present case, let him ask, what had the Americans done? [Mr. Chapman. - They fired a shot across the bows of the Mail Steamer to bring her to, and as she did not stop for that they fired a shell at her, which burst close by her. (Tremendous cheers.)]

Mr. Torr proceeded to say that there was every reason to avoid coming to a hasty resolution, and, in thanking the meeting for the patience with which they had heard him (loud and ironical cheers), he again urged on those present to consider the matter calmly and dispassionately, and not to be carried away by the impulse of feeling in a case which required mature judgment and calm deliberation. A letter had been shown to him by a Southern gentleman, in which it was stated as a positive fact that the law officers of the Crown had, in anticipation, expressed a decided opinion in favour of the legality of a proceeding similar to that which had just taken place in regard to the Trent by the San Jacinto.

Mr. J. Turner next attempted to address the meeting to the same effect as had been done by Mr. Torr and Mr. Campbell, but the feeling of those present was so decidedly opposed to that view that he was forced to desist.

The resolution, as proposed to be amended by the chairman, was then put to the meeting, and carried by a tremendous majority, and amid the most deafening and enthusiastic cheers. For the negative only a few hands were held up.

At the conclusion of the meeting, which was at 4 o'clock, a number of the older merchants on 'Change expressed privately their conviction that the meeting and its proceedings had been premature.
Th 28 November 1861



Sir,- I hasten to forward you some particulars of the grievous outrage committed to-day against the English flag by the United States' steamsloop San Jacinto, Captain Wilks. You have probably heard how, some three weeks ago, the little steamer Theodora, having on hoard the Commissioners sent by the Confederate States of America to London and Paris, ran the blockade at Charleston, arriving safely in Havannah. Once arrived there, they, of course, imagined that on neutral territory they were perfectly free and safe from all molestation, and therefore made no attempt to conceal their names, position, and intended movements. Mr. Slidell, the Commissioner for Paris, was accompanied by his wife, son, and three daughters, and also by his secretary, Mr. G. Eustis, with his wife; Mr. Mason, the Commissioner for England, being accompanied by his secretary, Mr. M'Farland. It was well known in Havannah that berths were booked for the whole party to proceed by this steamer to St. Thomas, there to join the homeward West India mail steamship for Southampton. They accordingly embarked yesterday morning, trusting to receive the same protection under the English flag which they had already received from that of Spain.

We left Havannah yesterday morning, at 8. This morning, about half-past 11, we observed a large steamship ahead, and on a nearer approach found she was hove to, evidently awaiting us. We were then in the narrowest part of the Bahama Channel, abreast of Paredon Grande lighthouse. As soon as we were well within range, we had the first intimation of her nationality and intentions by a round shot being fired across our bows, and at the same moment by her showing American colours. We were now sufficiently near to observe that all her ports were open, guns run out, and crew at their stations. On a still nearer approach she fired a shell from a swivel gun of large calibre on her forecastle, which passed within a few yards of the ship, bursting about a hundred yards to leeward. We were now within hail, when Captain Moir, commanding this ship, asked the American what he meant by stopping his ship, and why he did so by firing shotted guns, contrary to usual custom. The reply was that he wished to send a boat on board of us. This was immediately followed by a boat pushing off from the side of the San Jacinto, containing between 20 and 30 men, heavily armed, under the command of the First Lieutenant, who came up on the quarter-deck, and, after asking for Captain Moir, demanded a list of passengers. As his "right of search" was denied, the information required was, of course, peremptorily refused. He then stated that he had information that Messrs. Slidell, Mason, Eustis, and M'Farland were on board, and demanded that they should be given up. This also being indignantly refused, Mr. Slidell himself came forward, and said that the four gentlemen named were then before him, but appealed to the British flag, under which they were sailing, for protection. The Lieutenant said that his orders were to take them on board the San Jacinto by force if they would not surrender. He then walked to the side of the ship and waved his hand; immediately three more heavily armed boats pushed off and surrounded the ship, and the party of Marines who came in the first boat came up and took possession of the quarter-deck; these, however, he ordered down on the main-deck, to take charge of the gangway ports. Captain Williams, R.N., the naval agent in charge of the mails, who was of course present during this interview, then, in the name of Her Majesty, he being the only person on board directly representing her, made a vehement protestation against this piratical act. During the whole of this time the San Jacinto was about 200 yards distant from us on the port beam, her broadside guns, which were all manned, directly bearing upon us. Any open resistance to such a force was, of course, hopeless, although, from the loud and repeated plaudits which followed Captain Williams's protestation, and which were joined in by every one, without exception, of the passengers congregated on the quarter-deck, men of all nations, and from the manifested desire of some to resist to the last, I have no doubt but that every person would have joined heart and soul in the struggle had our commander but given the order. Such an order he could not, under such adverse circumstances, conscientiously give, and it was therefore considered sufficient that a party of Marines with bayonets fixed should forcibly lay hands on the gentlemen named. This was done, and the gentlemen retired to their cabins to arrange some few changes of clothing. A most heartrending scene now took place between Mr. Slidell, his eldest daughter, a noble girl devoted to her father, and the Lieutenant. It would require a far more able pen than mine to describe how, with flashing eyes and quivering lips, she threw herself in the doorway of the cabin where her father was, resolved to defend him with her life, till, on the order being given to the Marines to advance, which they did with bayonets pointed at this poor defenceless girl, her father ended the painful scene by escaping from the cabin by a window when he was immediately seized by the Marines and hurried into the boat, calling out to Captain Moir as he left that he held him and his Government responsible for this outrage.

If further proof were required of the meanness and cowardly bullying in the line of conduct pursued by the Captain of the San Jacinto, I may remark, first, that, on being asked if they would have committed this outrage if we had been a man-of-war, they replied, "Certainly not," and, secondly, that Captain Wilks sent an order for Captain Moir to go on board his ship, and a second for Captain Moir to move the Trent closer to the San Jacinto. Of course, not the slightest notice was taken of either order, nor did they attempt to enforce them.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Royal Mail Steamship Trent, at sea, Nov. 8.
Fr 29 November 1861



On the news reaching here yesterday afternoon that the Americans had stopped an English mail steamer and taken the Confederate Commissioners from on board there was a strong feeling of indignation expressed, especially among gentlemen meeting on the Exchange. This feeling had not undergone much abatement this morning; but a calmer feeling took possession of the public mind as the day wore on, and after the question had been discussed with the light thrown on it by the press. There are a great many reckless men who would at once urge on a war to redress the alleged insult to the British flag; but this is by no means the general feeling, and among some of the leading merchants the first ebullition of anger is giving place to anxiety lest the Government should too precipitately be disposed in favour of a resort to arms.

(From the Manchester Guardian.)

It is clear that the American Government are determined to test to the utmost the truth of the adage that it takes two to make a quarrel. Were England only a tenth part as desirous to break the blockade of the cotton ports as it is asserted to be by the mendacious press of the United States, we need not fear to be long without a case which, in ordinary circumstances, would be amply sufficient for excuse, if not for justification. Matters progress at such a rate that the vague apprehensions of yesterday as to the provocative disposition of President Lincoln and his advisers become simple realities to-day. Less than a week ago it was reported that a Federal ship of war had recently been lurking about the British Channel for the purpose of arresting on board the West Indian mail steamer a couple of American passengers, assumed to be coming to this country on a political mission obnoxious to the Government of Washington. The first danger of our having to deal with so extraordinary an offence was alleged to have been happily avoided by the fact that the mail steamer, which, by the by, was wholly innocent of carrying the freight imputed to her, had slipped unperceived past the James Adger and got into port unmolested. Nevertheless, we were told that the design had not been abandoned and that an attempt would probably be made to execute it upon the La Plata, which was due at Southampton on the 28th or29th of this month. It is necessary to recall these reports in order to perceive that the story which appeared almost too wild to be credited a few days ago is substantially verified by events which had already happened. The La Plata has arrived without falling in with any vessel disposed to question her right to an uninterrupted passage across the high seas. She has not had the perilous honour of bringing Messrs. Slidell and Mason, commissioners from the Confederate States of North America to England and France; but she brings news of them, showing that the determination of the United States' Government to cut short their voyage, by fair means or foul, had been rightly augured, and that the contemplated aggression upon the British flag has been executed with entire success.

The intelligence of this remarkable proceeding has been read ere this throughout the length and breadth of England with feelings in which indignation and contempt struggle for the upper hand. It is due to the malicious forethought of the American Government, or to the thorough knowledge of his business shown by their representative, the commander of the San Jacinto, to acknowledge that nothing which could add to the insulting character of the outrage appears to have been omitted.

Such are the circumstances which Lord Palmerston's Government will now have to consider with due reference to the requirements of the national dignity and the acknowledged principles of public law. We refrain from attempting to pronounce on the delicate question whether the established right of a belligerent to search neutral vessels suspected on good grounds of conveying contraband of war to the enemy can be extended to include a similar power over vessels in which diplomatic agents are believed to have taken passage. The Queen's proclamation warns her subjects, under fear of the penalties of the Foreign Enlistment Act, against "carrying officers, soldiers, despatches, arms, military stores, or materials for the use or service of either of the contending parties." It is observable, however, that the despatches of Messrs. Slidell and Mason, even if they could be supposed to contain any secrets of interest - which is manifestly unlikely - do not seem even to have been asked for, for we are told, that all the papers belonging to them have been brought on by the La Plata. The problem is, therefore, narrowed down to the question whether the Southern Commissioners themselves, coming on board a vehicle of public conveyance, like any ordinary beings, fall within the category of articles which expose the vessel conveying them to the risk of being lawfully stopped, ransacked, rifled, and perhaps made prize of war? It is certain, after what has happened, that this point will be investigated with a fullness of anxiety and minuteness of research extremely likely to correct any hasty impressions which may be formed with regard to it by unlearned persons. But, whatever may be the result of this inquiry, the law officers of the Crown, though they should say without contradiction that the proceeding which we have narrated is strictly according to law, will have extreme difficulty in inducing the English people to acquiesce in it. In the first place, the practical annoyance of the thing is intolerable. If the belligerents stand, as we profess, on an equal footing as to claim on our assistance, there is clearly nothing to prevent the Sumter, the Nashville, or some other Confederate ship of war, from stopping and overhauling the Cunard steamers on every inward or outward voyage, inasmuch as it may always be assumed that couriers, or more important officials, are on their way by that line to or from the Government of Washington. But again, by what Government is it that the right of search, supposing it to be capable of extension to these unprecedented instances, is so rigorously upheld? By that Power which has always refused to admit it, even in cases allowed by the practice of all civilized nations; that Government which went to war with us in 1812 rather than recognize in us the slightest title to inquire for deserters from the British navy who had taken refuge on board their ships; and that people who tumultuously approved the conduct of one of their naval officers who, in 1850, resisted, by open force, the attempt of an Austrian frigate to get possession of a Hungarian who had placed himself under the American flag in the harbour of Smyrna. We cannot misunderstand the meaning of such provocation as we now receive from a country thus committed to the widest interpretation of the rights of neutrality. Whatever may be the immediate result to which it is designed to lead, it is deliberately irritating and insulting. Such experiments are very dangerous. They touch us on two points on which we are particularly sensitive - our freedom of action on the seas, and our reputation for political hospitality. These feelings are so perilous to meddle with that the United States cannot be too strongly warned against abusing the occasional licence for impertinence conferred on them by their present weakness and distress.

(From the Birmingham Daily Post.)

Hitherto American vapourings as to the getting-up of a war with England, or with some other European Power, as a wholesome remedy for disunion, have been held as mere ravings, or as empty threats employed to gain a week's popularity. A New York mob was agreeably titillated by the idea of "licking the Britishers" without being called upon for the men and money necessary for that somewhat hazardous attempt. We certainly never credited Messrs. Lincoln and Seward with such a deplorable amount of audacious folly as to suppose that they would sanction or command an outrage on the high seas upon a British mail steamer, carrying, though not actually commanded by, a captain of the navy holding a responsible position on board, and sailing from a neutral port - an outrage which any nation would be justified in considering as a casus belli, if not tantamount to a declaration of war. Yet this is precisely what has been done, not on the spur of the moment by some vehement Yankee captain, ignorant of the commonest rudiments of the law of nations - not in some out-of-the-way creek or bay on the Southern coast, but advisedly and deliberately; and, to make matters worse, as far as we can learn at present, the indignity was offered to the British flag in our own waters.

It remains to be seen how this will be endured by the British Government. A strong pressure will be brought to bear, for Englishmen can put up with bluster but not with blows. A meeting was at once called in Liverpool, and perhaps to-morrow will witness many more, insisting that Government should at once take the matter up and vindicate the insulted dignity of England. This can only be done by the dismissal of the aggressor and the liberation of the prisoners; and we doubt whether the popular frenzy will allow Mr. Seward to do so, even were he inclined. A challenge has therefore been deliberately thrown down to this country, and if it should come to an issue the conflict will be remembered when the United States are but a tradition of the past.
Sa 30 November 1861


When so momentous a question as that of a war between England and the Northern States of America is in the balance I think you will be disposed to give publicity indifferently to every view in which, the matter can possibly present itself. I venture, therefore, to request permission to offer a few observations on the critical question of the extent of the reparation which the English Government are entitled to demand at the hands of the Washington Cabinet.

That the American cruiser was guilty of an irregularity and, in point of form, of an illegal act in carrying off the Southern Commissioners without a judicial sentence on the Trent must now be admitted, even by those who are disposed to take the least inflammatory view of the subject.

The practice of allowing the belligerent cruiser to constitute himself a judge in the matter is clearly so improper and inconvenient that it is impossible to permit such an act to pass into a precedent unquestioned. On the other hand, it does seem to me that the extent of the reparation we should demand depends in a great measure on the question whether the injury we have sustained was one of form only, or of substance. Now, whether the injury was one of form or of substance depends on the second question, whether, if the American cruiser had acted in a regular manner - i. e., had carried the Trent into an American port in order to bring her before a Prize Court - there were not materials on which to found a judicial condemnation. If the case is not so clearly in our favour as that a decision in the American Court condemning the vessel would have been liable to be questioned by us, as manifestly contrary to the law of nations, then the irregularity of the American Captain in allowing the Trent to proceed to Southampton clearly redounded to the advantage of the British owners and the British passengers. Could we in such a case find a ground of international quarrel in an error of procedure which in effect told in our own favour?

Now, were there not materials from which the American Prize Court might, and most probably would have arrived at such a condemnation? On a doubtful point, which at the least it must be admitted to be, the American decision would probably have been in their own favour. The Prize Court is judge not only of law, but of the facts from which inferences are to be drawn. It might have fairly taken the confession of Mr. Slidell and his friends, that they were Southern Commissioners, coupled with the occupation in which it is notorious that the other Southern Commissioners now in Europe are engaged, as a sufficient proof of the hostile character of their mission. If the Court had come to such a decision, could the English Government have disputed their judgment as one in gross violation binding on us, and the Trent would have been condemned as lawful prize. A distinction has been drawn between the despatch and the messenger who carries the despatch which seems to me wholly unsustainable. If a belligerent has power to seize the despatch he must have the power to detain the messenger. For the messenger, who probably knows the message by heart, is neither more nor less than a living despatch.

Now, I do not put forward these considerations as suggesting that we have sustained no injury at the hands of the Americans, or for the purpose of questioning our right to demand reparation. But I confess that it strikes me very strongly that the quality of the injury materially affects the nature of the amends which we are entitled to require. If the Trent would probably have been legally condemned in case a regular course had been pursued by the Captain of the San Jacinto, in form it is true she sustained an injury, but in substance it is certain she had a fortunate escape.

The conclusion, therefore, at which I arrive is this, - what we are entitled beyond all question to demand is an apology for the illegal and irregular proceeding on the part of the San Jacinto - which cannot be sustained on any possible view of the law of nations; and an undertaking from the American Government that the offence shall not be repeated. But, unless it is perfectly demonstrable that if the Captain of the San Jacinto had carried the Trent into New York she could not legally have been condemned I cannot think that we are entitled to push our demand to the extreme point of requiring the restitution of the Commissioners. Such a demand would almost certainly be repelled. And England, before she can appeal to the arbitrament of arms, must have a quarrel good not only in form, but in substance.

Temple, Nov. 29.
Ma 2 December 1861


The British Government has lost no time in transmitting to America its demand of reparation. It was only on Wednesday that the news of the attach on the Trent reached this country, and already a Queer's Messenger is on his way with a despatch to Lord Lyons [Richard Bickerton Pemell Lyons, 1st Viscount Lyons, 1817-1887; British envoy in Washington] instructing him to demand the disavowal of the act, and the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, with their secretaries, to the British Government. In such a case hesitation would have been as fatal as submission. An insult must be resented at once, more particularly when the prospect of impunity is likely to cause numerous repetitions of the offence. The Cabinet therefore deserves credit for having so promptly taken its resolution. At its meeting on Friday Lord Russell [Foreign secretary] was directed to prepare a despatch, and on Saturday Ministers met again to revise it and finally settle its terms. So settled, and approved by Her Majesty, it was sent yesterday by a messenger to Queenstown, and will arrive at Washington within twelve days' time. We understand that this communication, though couched in the firmest language, very properly presumes that the Federal Government will not refuse to make honourable reparation for an illegal act. How far such a hope Is likely to be gratified our readers may judge from the telegraphic news which we publish to-day. It is satisfactory to find that, whatever orders the Federal Government may have given its naval officers, the Captain of the San Jacinto seems to have acted very much on his own responsibility. On the 16th of November his vessel arrived at Fortress Monroe, having on board the two Commissioners. Commander Wilks [of the San Jacinto], according to the New York papers, came on shore, and had an interview with General Wool [John Ellis Wool, 1784-1869, who had secured Fort Monroe, Virginia, for the Union in the early days of the war]. "He expressed his opinion that he had done right, and said that, right or wrong, these men had to be secured, and if he had done wrong he could do no more than be cashiered for it." If this version of the story be correct, it would seem that, whatever order he or any of his brother officers may have received to stop and search British vessels, the actual seizing and carrying off of the two Commissioners was not directed from Washington. Commander Wilks, therefore, either acted without instructions, or he must, in his own opinion, have exceeded them. This would diminish the difficulty of the Federal Government. If it did not order the violation of the British flag, and that violation was the illadvised act of a too zealous officer, Mr. Seward [William Henry Seward, Sr, 1801-1872; Secretary of State] may, without mortification comply with our demands, and release the four persons who were illegally taken. Whatever may have been the intentions and the real orders of the Government, it would be enough to say that the Captain of the San Jacinto acted without authority, and that, as his proceedings could not be justified by the Law of Nations, reparation would be made to the British Government.

But we must own that we have but small hope of such a disavowal. What the Federal Government might wish to do were it left to its own judgment and its own conscience is, unhappily, hardly a matter of importance. We fully believe that the majority of the American Cabinet would see with the utmost regret any difference with England. The splenetic mind of Mr. Seward has, indeed, been continually infusing into his colleagues a feeling of enmity to this country, but the good sense of those about him has hitherto prevailed to prevent any offensive act. Yet in this matter the so-called Patriotic Party is nearly sure to carry the day. "Our country, right or wrong," is the maxim of thousands of American politicians, and we can hardly doubt that it will be acted on in this case. Already there are indications that the act of Captain Wilks has been accepted by the Northern public. We are told that the New York journals "urge that promotion and testimonials should be conferred on him for his spirited conduct." It may be that the next mail will bring us accounts of his increasing popularity, and that by the time Lord Russell's despatch reaches Washington he will have become the lion of the day. It is this habit of unscrupulous partisanship, ingrained in the very nature of the Americans, which will be the chief obstacle to a friendly settlement. That a naval officer has had the spirit to board a British vessel and to carry off rebels, in spite of the "raving" of the British captain, is enough to insure a storm of popularity. The man who has given his countrymen such a "sensation" is far more likely to be courted than disowned by a weak Government, already trembling for the consequences of its ill success, and anxious to provide the public with other excitement than is caused by indignation at the slow progress of the war. We must, therefore, while hoping that the lapse of three or four weeks will allow the act of the San Jacinto to be considered in a calmer temper, and the demands of the British Government to be met with fairness and courtesy, still be prepared to see them contemptuously rejected. The multitude may have already dictated to the Government the treatment which Captain Wilks and Lieutenant Fairfax are to receive. We must hope for the best, but still it becomes us to be pro pared for an unfortunate issue.

For any further discussion of the matter the time has not yet come. But our Government would indeed be acting with ridiculous weakness if it did not take measures to prevent a Power so arrogant and so much under the influence of passion as the United States from obtaining materials of war which may hereafter be turned against us. Within the last few days an order has been issued forbidding the export of an immense quantity of saltpetre which had been bought up on account of the Federal Government, and we publish to-day a Proclamation extending the prohibition to all the materials of gunpowder. As regards the saltpetre, it seems to have been the design of the Washington Government to provide itself at once for a long war. Almost the whole stock to be found in England would in a week or two have been shipped for the Northern States. As almost all the saltpetre used throughout the world comes from Oude, we have practically a monopoly of the article, and it was a good thought of the Federal authorities to provide themselves at once with all they are likely to want even should the war be prolonged for years. On our part, it was but a necessary precaution to defeat such a scheme, and we cannot doubt that, while keeping strictly within the bounds of International Law, our Government will in other matters take care that the interests of the Empire do not suffer.
Ma 2 December 1861Short as is the time which has elapsed since the arrival of the news that an English ship had been compelled to give up four of her passengers to an American cruiser, it has yet been long enough to enable us to come to a clear apprehension of our own rights and duties. By avoiding all hypothetical reasoning, and confining our attention strictly to what the Americans did, without embarrassing the question by considering what they might have done, we shall have no difficulty in applying clear and well-understood law to admitted facts. The American Captain had the right to search the Trent for any cause he thought fit, and if he found her carrying contraband of war he had the further right of carrying the vessel to a Prize Court, in order to procure her condemnation. His duties were purely ministerial and inquisitorial; there was nothing judicial about them. He might examine, and he might put matters in the way of being decided, but he could decide nothing himself. The American Captain clearly went beyond this duty. It is of no use considering what a Court might have decided had he brought the ship before it, because he did not do so, and cannot, after having chosen to be judge in his own cause, put himself in the position which he would have occupied had he submitted it to the opinion of a competent tribunal. In dealing with the rights of strangers and neutrals, he chose to avail himself of a momentary superiority of force, and America cannot be heard to urge in excuse of the act of her officer arguments which might well have been used against the Trent in the Prize Court of New York. It is in this substitution of force for law that the insult to our flag consists, and the assertion that the law, if appealed to, would have justified the force, so far from extenuating, tends to aggravate the injury, by showing that it was gratuitous and unnecessary for the attainment of the end desired. We are ready to submit to the Law of Nations as expounded by competent Courts; but to the Law of Nations as promulgated at the cannon's mouth, without hearing and without jurisdiction, it is perfectly impossible that we should submit.

So far, the case appears to us to be exceedingly clear and plain. It does not become a great nation to be eager and inconsiderate in taking offence; but even less does it become us, when offence has been deliberately and intentionally given, to be subtle and astute in inventing plausible excuses and far-fetched analogies for a plain and obvious wrong. Considering the elements of which International Law is made, how often, it has been distorted by passion, how often warped by overweening power, it is really surprising to find that we have sustained a wrong in defence of which so very little that is even plausible can be urged. We have, we hope, hitherto proceeded with proper calmness and fairness. We have tried our own case to the best of our power, and, certainly, with a strong wish, if possible, to arrive at the conclusion that the Americans have done no more than they had a right to do. We shall hear, and, we trust, weigh dispassionately, what they may urge in their defence; but we have access to the same authorities as they. We are guided by an opinion given under the most solemn responsibility under which a human being can act. That opinion is entirely in accordance with the result of our own investigations, and we cannot pretend to expect that anything which may be urged on behalf of the United States will be likely to make any change.

We, therefore, have little more for the present to do with the matter. We have demanded satisfaction for the injuries sustained, and shall calmly consider the answer we may receive and the duties which may result from it. Our task is, for the present, accomplished. We have sought no quarrel or collision with any nation, least of all have we sought one with America. It has come by no act of ours. We have hitherto been perfectly passive in the matter. The case is so clear and direct that it admits on our part of no consideration of consequences. Our duty is plain, clear, and explicit, unless we are willing to descend from, the position we have so long maintained among the nations of the world, and allow interests which pervade every region of the earth to be trampled on, and a flag that floats in every breeze that blows to be sullied with impunity.

We are very anxious, in the interest of peace, that this should be clearly understood by the American people. We are afraid they may be misled by our past conduct, which might, perhaps not unreasonably, lead them to suppose that there was no limit to our concessions and our forbearance. They have the case entirely in their own hands, and on their decision must unquestionably hang the most momentous issue which can arise between two nations. This is not like the dismissal of an Ambassador, which we need not notice, or the armed seizure of a territory in our constructive possession pending a discussion of our rights, which we could contrive to overlook. Our national honour and independence, and, above all, the indiscriminate hospitality on which we pride ourselves, are attacked in the very tenderest point, and it is impossible for us to retreat from the position we have taken; but it is not so for America. Without any derogation from that position which she has hitherto occupied, America can well afford to give to us all the satisfaction which we can desire. We have in no respect attempted to retaliate. We complain that the officer in command of the American war steamer has taken the law into his own hands, but we have not followed his example. We have appealed to the honourable feelings of the American people to do us justice, and we venture to say that we have done nothing, and shall do nothing, which will make it difficult for them to do so. What difficulty there is is not of our raising. We could bear with good temper even what might appear to us a harsh decision on the Law of Nations by the American Prize Courts; but we cannot endure that a view of that law adverse to what we believe to be our rights should be assumed and acted upon without any decision at all.

The American people - presuming, as we will, that they are still able to control the course of their Government, however large may be the powers which the exigencies of a Civil War have led it to assume - have a momentous choice to make. Were it not for so much concurrent evidence, we could not have believed it possible that, in the total absence of any provocation on our part, there existed a desire to fasten a quarrel upon us. We, indeed, have no reason to shrink from such a challenge. Our finances are in good order, our trade has already in great measure recovered the injury which it received from the American Civil War, and the result of a declaration of hostilities would only be to remove the one difficulty that lies in the way of our prosperity. But we ask the American people and their Government calmly and dispassionately to consider their own true and lasting interests, and how they would be affected by wantonly forcing us into a war to avoid which we would willingly encounter everything except dishonour. The announcement of a quarrel with England has been regarded in America as an infallible remedy for all domestic discord. Will it be so now? Will the South join the North in forcing a quarrel on England because she would not submit to give up to her enemies two of the most prominent of Southern citizens? Do the United States desire to engage in a foreign as well as a civil war, and to place themselves in the position of disadvantage in which they are anxious to place the South - that is, to subject themselves to a blockade, with a hostile force which it will require no Armada to transport into the rear of their armies, because it is there already in the long line of British colonies? Are the dimensions of the present Civil War so small, are its burdens so light, that they can wish wantonly to increase them? What would the North gain by forcing us to break the blockade of the Southern coast? What would it gain by pointing out to the Western States, which trade so largely with England, how precarious is a prosperity which can thus, without excuse and without provocation, be flung away in a moment by a remote Government which is already at war with one-third of its people? Why should the American Government suggest to the States which lie at the head of the Mississippi that they also lie at the head waters of the St. Lawrence; or why should Maine have to choose between being the winter port of Canada or the first sufferer in a war between Canada and the Union? Civil War in a Confederacy is a universal solvent, and the centrifugal force is already sufficiently violent without forcing Great Britain to lend her powerful arm to increase it.
Ma 2 December 1861When there was yet no cloud between us and the Anglo-Saxons of America the Minister of the Northern Republic issued instructions to the people near the Canadian frontier to put themselves in readiness for a war with England. Europe read the circular with great surprise. No preparation could in our eyes be more unnecessary, no suggestion of danger could be more absurd. The wildest insanity on the other side of the Atlantic could scarcely dream that England was about to take advantage of civil disorder to invade Maine or New York or Michigan, and the most lively apprehensions on this side the Atlantic could scarcely conceive that the rulers of the warring States in the North had determined still further to complicate their position by a wilful quarrel with England. Yet it would now appear that Mr. Seward's warning was not necessarily so absurd as it then appeared. If he had already despaired of reconquering the long tributary South, and had determined to retire from the contest amid the conflagration of a European war, or if he had conceived the policy of seeking an indemnity for the loss of the Southern States by absorbing the British possessions, then there was at least some method in his madness. It might be, and we believe it would be, the most silly and unstatesman-like design ever conceived by a Minister; but such a resolve would point at least to a settled course of future action. The Minister who had such a policy in his mind knew what was to come. He knew that he was about to force a quarrel with England, and he could therefore already indicate where the struggle would necessarily be hottest.

We may be wrong in attributing a coherent: policy to so incoherent a personage as Mr. Seward. We may have some hope that his early call for preparation was only intended to answer some momentary purpose at home, and that we shall not be obliged to recognize in the next acts of Mr. Lincoln's [Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865, 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination on 15 April 1865] Government the steps of a predetermined resolve to have a war with England. One fact seems, however, to be pretty certain. If Canada had not been a British possession, there would have been no reviling of England, no warlike demonstrations against England, and no outrages committed upon the English flag. If the Northern mind had been completely concentrated upon the conquest of the Southern Republic, it would not in mere lightness of heart have sought to call into the contest the most powerful ally which that Southern Republic could find in the world. It is possible to understand that the manufacturing States of the North, greedy of monopolies, and believing that their existence depends upon close markets and forced customers, may cast their eyes abroad for other tributary populations of buyers to replace those who are escaping from their power; but it is not possible to believe that without an object of this kind they could choose this moment to proclaim the approach of a state of war. If the Government of the Federal States had conceived the design of abandoning the South and seeking an indemnity in the conquest of Canada, they would have acted just as they have hitherto acted. They would have strengthened their Northern frontier, they would have used every effort to excite their population against England, they would have sown seeds of jealousy and hostility between the two countries, they would have commenced a series of aggressions which no country can endure without losing its selfrespect and its consideration among its equals, and they would have chosen for their aggressions a period of the year when the coveted territory is cut off by climate from the assistance of the mother country.

If, therefore, when there was no apparent reason for the counsel, the American Minister was right in calling upon the frontier States to put on their armour, how much more need is there that we should now call upon the Canadians to be up and ready to receive a foe! If there be danger at all, that danger is imminent. If the design has been formed to annex them as tributaries to Pennsylvania and New York, the attempt will be prompt. They may be assured that in that case the next five months of ice will not be allowed to pass without some endeavour on the part of their aggressive neighbours. During those five months, at least, their existence as an integral community must depend upon themselves. It is our duty, and we shall not shrink from it if the occasion should unhappily arise, to aid them with the whole power of this country. To punish their invaders we are almost omnipotent. We can sweep the Federal fleet from the seas, we can blockade the Atlantic cities; but we cannot garrison and hold 350,000 square miles of country. That must be done by the Canadians themselves. They have done it before when they were a smaller population and a divided people. They have done it before when they were but a dependency of Great Britain, and were not, as they are now, in all but in name an independent nation. They have now every incentive to defend themselves. They are not only a self-governing people, but they are in race, in traditions, and in material interests distinct from the people who would seek to conquer them. If anything were required to unite them in one firm array, it would be an attack from the people of Maine and New York. And these men of Canada can fight. They have an excellent Militia, they have among them the nucleus of a good regular force, they have ample stores, and they have, what is not to be despised, recollections of victory in former combats against the same enemies. They have always hitherto proved themselves more than a match for any force which the United States, even when they were really united States, could bring against them. They will only have to meet a force cognate with their own. Their invaders will not be veterans who have stood victorious upon well-won fields, but at the best Militiamen, like themselves. Perhaps they may even be renegades from Bull's Run, plunderers in Virginia, or lucky fugitives from Lexington or Leesburg. A population of a million and a half ought to be able to give a hundred thousand drilled Militiamen to defend their frontier, and another hundred thousand Volunteers for temporary duty. We, like them, were, or thought ourselves to be, in immediate danger; and our present Volunteer force shows how we understood our position, and how we rose to meet it. What we have done at home Canada must do in her homes. For her internal defences she must rely upon herself. Montreal is, no doubt, at this season a vulnerable point. It is unfortunate that our timorous or unskilful diplomacy in 1842 [the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of August 9 1842 resolved a number of border issues between the United States and the British North American colonies] ,drew the boundary of the two nations so near to this capital city; but Montreal wants only stout hearts and zealous hands to be safe until the season returns when we can make it secure against any assailant. The only danger that can prove fatal either to Montreal or to any other point of the frontier is lest Canada should rely too much upon us and too little upon herself.

We address this call to our fellow-subjects on the other side of the Atlantic because we believe that they are fully as hearty in their desire to remain united with us as we can be to see them so united. While they are loyal to England it is England's duty to aid in their defence against all who may attack them, and to accept any quarrel which may be forced upon us by reason of our union. Of course, we should never think of undertaking the defence of half a continent of discontented or hostile inhabitants. We have nothing to gain from the Canadians; we force no imports upon them; we ask for no monopolies in their markets; we derive no revenue from them; we impose no laws upon them. Our Union is more free and disinterested than can even be companionship between father and son. They would not be worth a dollar less to us were they to-morrow the tributaries of the Northern Republic or the members of an independent State. At present they have all the advantages of independence with the protection of the most powerful maritime country in the world. If they value this, they must show themselves worthy of it. Of course, it is not certain that war will arise. The Northern Republic may have even anticipated our demand. Even if she refuse it, some now unseen escape may possibly be found from the dilemma of war or dishonour. The wise course, however, for Canada will be to prepare. Let her at once discipline her Militia and emulate the mother country in drilling a Volunteer army.
Ma 2 December 1861


Sir,- I trust I may be permitted to call your attention to a note by Mr. Laurence, the son of a late American Ambassador in London, and himself an Ex-Secretary of Legation, in his edition of Wheaton's International Law. It seems to me so apposite to the circumstances under which the Trent was stopped and the Southern Commissioners arrested on board of her by the San Jacinto, that it might almost have been written in direct contemplation of the event that has occurred, and I am surprised that among the numerous letters that have been published no one has called attention to it. "It is conceived," he says, -
"That the carrying of despatches can only invest a neutral vessel with a hostile character in the case of its being employed for that purpose by the belligerent, and that it cannot affect with criminality either a regular postal packet or a merchant ship which takes a despatch in its ordinary course of conveying letters, and of the contents of which the master must necessarily be ignorant. This view, it is supposed, is not inconsistent with the text which refers to a fraudulent carrying of 'despatches of the enemy.' Since the former European wars some Governments have established regular postal packets, whose mails, by international conventions, are distributed throughout the civilized world: while, in other countries, every merchant vessel is obliged to receive till the moment of its setting sail, not only all the despatches of the Government, but all letters sent to it from the post-office" - P. 567.

In support of this opinion Mr. Laurence refers to the very able treatise of Hautefeuille, a distinguished French jurist, "Sur les Droits and les Devoirs des Neutres," a work not so well known in England as it deserves to be. The writer is, it is true, the champion of the rights of neutrals, following out to the fullest extent the principles laid down by Hubner, Galiani, Klöber, and others; but his mode of handling the subject is so full and so exhausting, and evinces such clear logical precision, that even when one differs from him one cannot but admire the thorough way in which he discusses the matter, shirking no difficulties, and not omitting a point.

While other treatises touch lightly on the subject of despatches, the English books being, as is the case with all English law books, merely storehouses of decided cases, Hautefeuille devotes a whole chapter to the subject, and discusses it thoroughly. "Despatches," he says, - "May either be carried from a neutral port to another neutral port" (the case of the Trent), "or from a neutral port to a port belonging to the belligerent, or from a port of the belligerent to a neutral port, or, last of all, from a port of a belligerent to another port under the same Sovereign or occupied by his arms. It seems clear that the three first hypotheses must be left out of account. Whenever the point of departure or the point of arrival is a neutral country, the transport of the despatch is innocent, and the neutral in taking charge of it does not violate the duties of neutrality and commits no act of contraband. Even in the last hypothesis, when the despatch is sent from a place belonging to the belligerent to a port also belonging to him, it is necessary to make some observations. One of the belligerents having an important despatch to send to a remote part of its territory, to a colony, to a fleet stationed far from the mother country, may freight a neutral vessel specially to carry this despatch. But it may happen also, and this is the most frequent case, that this letter is put on board a neutral vessel charged with a regular post specially devoted to the carriage of letters, not only of the State but also of private individuals, and performing this service not only under special circumstances, but at regular stated periods. The packetboats are vessels of this sort. It is usual among commercial nations that at the moment when a merchant vessel sets sail from a distant port the captain is charged by the post-office with all the letters destined for that place and the adjoining parts. The captain cannot refuse this mission without violating his duty; he is intrusted with and responsible for the despatches confided to him. The belligerent may use this means of sending his despatches. Is the neutral vessel equally guilty in these three last hypotheses? In the first case he is certainly so. It is clear the captain cannot be ignorant of the service he is called on to fulfil. Having freighted his vessel to one of the belligerents specially to carry a despatch from one of his ports to another, he is guilty of a violation of the rights of neutrality, and may be treated as a belligerent; but when the transport of the letters and despatches of belligerents is made either as a postal service by regular packetboats or according to the immemorial usage of maritime people, who before the establishment of special boats always deposited their public and private despatches in the first boat, it is a perfectly innocent act, and can in no case be considered either as an infraction of the duties of neutrality or as an act of carrying contraband. Suppose, for instance, a war were to break out between the United States and England. The English Government freights a French vessel in an English port specially to carry a despatch to the governor of any of the English West India Islands. Whatever be the contents of this despatch, the ship has violated the duties of neutrality, and may be treated as an enemy by the Americans. But would it be the same if the ship, laden with merchandise, and having a purely commercial object, and bound for the West Indies, received this despatch at the moment of its departure along with the rest of the correspondence? Certainly not. The captain has not accepted a special mission from the belligerent, but has only rendered to him, as a friend of his country, a service which it is not the habit of maritime usage to refuse; a service, too, which he would equally have rendered in time of peace, and which he can render, notwithstanding the war, without violating any of the duties of war. I never can believe that any nation at war with Great Britain will be able to consider as an act of hostility the transport of the India mail by the French packet-boats in the Mediterranean, although one really look on this mail as directly put on board in an English port, and directed to another English port, since it passes through France closed, and escorted by an English courier, who is responsible for it." -Vol. ii.,p. 463-465.

The offence of fraudulently conveying despatches is a very grave offence ("Re Caroline, 6 Rob.)," and is, of course, not considered in the discussion that has just been given. So much for the question of despatches; but when the evidence that has been furnished to the public as to the circumstances which took place when the vessel was visited is examined, it appears that no enquiry whatever was made as to despatches, but that the Lieutenant proceeded at once in medias res, and demanded the surrender of the gentlemen in question, and, in short, arrested them by main force on board a British vessel. The gravity of such an offence is, perhaps, not perceived till one knows what is the legal status of a vessel on the high ocean in the contemplation of both international and municipal law. Fortunately, the English and American authorities agree in every point as to this fact, and the coincidence is to be found, not in the writings of publicists, but in two solemn State documents emanating from the very highest authorities in either country, speaking, as it were, ex cathedrâ. One is a most elaborate despatch from Mr. Webster, addressed to Lord Ashburton, on the 8th of August, 1842, on the subject of the impressment of seamen in time of war, and to be found in Wheaton's History of International Law, in the Appendix:-
"Every merchant vessel on the seas is rightfully considered as part of the territory of the country to which it belongs. The entry, therefore, into such vessel, being neutral, by a belligerent is an act of force, and is primâ facie a wrong, a trespass, which can be justified only when done for some purpose allowed to form a sufficient justification by the law of nations. But a British cruiser enters an American merchant vessel in order to take therefrom supposed British subjects, offering no justification therefore under the law of nations, but claiming the right under the law of England respecting the King's prerogative. This cannot now be defended; English soil, English territory, English jurisdiction is the appropriate sphere for the operation of English law. The ocean is the sphere of the law of nations, and any merchant vessel on the seas is by that law under the protection of the laws of her own nation, and may claim immunity, unless in cases in which that law allows her to be entered and visited. The American Government is prepared to say that the practice of impressment from American vessels cannot hereafter be allowed to take place."

The English view of the subject is to be found in a speech of Sir William Molesworth, at that time a Cabinet Minister, and speaking in the name of the Cabinet:-
"A neutral ship," he said, " is a portion of the territory of a neutral Sovereign ; its inhabitants are his subjects; they are bound to obey his municipal law, and no other law. If they commit crimes on board the ship, they are tried and punished by his penal law, and the ownership of every article of property on board the ship is determined by his civil law. Therefore your quarrel, with which the neutral Sovereign has nothing to do, and to which, as a neutral, he ought to be perfectly indifferent, cannot destroy his rights on the free ocean - cannot entitle you as a belligerent to interfere with his floating territory more than with his fixed territory." - House of Commons, July 4,1854.

The same doctrine, I may add, is held by all the French and German jurists.

The conduct of the Captain of the San Jacinto will not, I fear, stand the test of these grave doctrines, so solemnly enunciated and expounded. Indeed, one is inclined to believe that he was merely acting on his own responsibility, without any instructions from his Government, in the hope of gaining some notoriety.

It is said that the law officers of the Crown have taken a technical view of the matter, and have advised the Government merely to complain of the conduct of the captain in constituting himself a judge in the matter, without submitting the case to the judgment of a Prize Court.

This seems to me an unfortunate course to adopt, and I fear it will draw forth from the lawyer-statesmen of America an answer in that clear, vigorous, and emphatic style which, from a profound knowledge of the subject, they can handle in the discussion of legal matters. The judgments of prize courts are purely proceedings in rem, and do not affect persons as distinguished from property; and no Prize Court in America, much, less the Supreme Court of Appeal, would have disgraced itself by pronouncing the vessel good prize. The captain knew well what he was doing, and was well aware that if he brought the vessel into American waters, and the Prize Court were to declare it not a good prize, he would be responsible to the owners for the expenses of the delay. Even supposing the vessel had been taken into American waters and claimed as prize, the same question as to the arrest of Messrs. Slidell and Mason would undoubtedly have arisen, for the Supreme Government would as soon as they were brought within the limits of its municipal jurisdiction have arrested them and taken them by main force, as they did on the open sea.

It would have been much better, as it seems to me, to have protested boldly and openly against the conduct of the captain on the principles enunciated by Mr. Webster and Sir W. Molesworth.

It does not appear whether the lieutenant arrested these gentlemen as subjects of the United States or as belligerent envoys. If he arrested them as the former, after our Government have acknowledged them as belligerents, he has committed a very great breach of the comity of nations. Being on board one of our vessels, these gentlemen were impressed with the character our Government has thought proper to give them, and they cannot be arrested in any other character, except in violation of all the courtesies which one nation is expected to show to another. I fear, however, there can be little doubt that it is as subjects of the United States in a state of rebellion against the supreme Government that they have been arrested, and that the whole proceedings are meant as an insult to this country for our supposed Southern sympathies and the promptitude with which we acknowledged the Confederates as belligerents.

You will see, Sir, that I do not consider as worthy of a moment's consideration the common argument one hears every day, that it cannot be as subjects that these gentlemen have been arrested, because it is only to belligerents that the right of search is granted by the law of nations, and that till the supreme Government acknowledges the South as belligerents they are not entitled to the right of search. To my mind this is an argument worthy of men not fit to grapple with so large a subject as the law of nations, and only fit to be turned out to feed and fatten in the green pastures of special demurrers. The question as to whether a state of belligerence (if I may be allowed to use the term) exists is purely a question of fact. The most gigantic civil war that the world has ever seen is now raging among men sprung from our own loins, and our lawyers doubt as to whether both parties are entitled to full belligerent powers from the want of some technicality. We have, moreover, by acknowledging the blockade, admitted all the belligerent claims of the supreme Government. I hope, Sir, that our Government will not be induced to put forth any such shallow ground, for I fear that if they do they may get such a reply from Mr. Seward as he lately favoured Lord Lyons with.

If, however, these gentlemen were arrested as belligerent envoys on their journey from one neutral port to another, an offence against the law of nations was, I think, equally committed. But I have trespassed so much on your patience, Sir, that I must not attempt to enter into it. I must not, however, omit to allude to a statement which has led many persons astray as to the right to stop envoys. In a letter in your valuable paper the other day a quotation was made from one of Lord Stowell's judgments, who refers in certain terms to Vattel's opinion on that subject. Any one, however, may, on turning to Vattel, book iv., c. 7, s. 85, see how much Lord Stowell has managed to alter and distort what that publicist really says.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Ma 2 December 1861


Sir,- If the circumstances attending the recent attack on the rights of our flag be carefully reviewed, it will appear probable that we have mistaken the grounds on which Mr. Secretary Seward will attempt to justify the conduct of the American Executive, and that the great research and legal subtlety which have been displayed in recent discussions have been thrown away.

It is to be observed that Lieutenant Fairfax did not inquire whether the Trent carried as passengers persons bearing the character of Ministers or Commissioners, nor did he make the usual search for their credentials or despatches, which he assuredly would have done if the capture had been effected under the colour of the belligerent right which is supposed to justify the capture of agents of a hostile Power bearing despatches.

Messrs. Slidell and Mason seem to have been captured as persons owing allegiance to the United States who were charged with high treason.

The proceeding appears, therefore, to have been in the nature of the exercise of right derived from municipal law, on the deck of a vessel sailing under the flag of a friendly State.

Such a proceeding is wholly at variance with the acknowledged legal rights of nations. But Mr. Secretary Seward is a great master of the art of retort, whether in words or in acts, and is apt to mistake the dexterous wielding of such power as the true test of statesmanship.

His case will probably be this:- "During your war with France, when your maritime population laboured under the dread of impressment, many of them took service on board our merchant vessels as ordinary seamen. You then claimed and persisted in exercising a search of American, vessels, and took out of them every seaman of British origin, whether yon recognized him as a deserter from your navy or not. We remonstrated against this assumption as unwarranted by the laws of nations, and as constituting the searching officer the sole judge of the nationality of an individual - a question which, if it could be raised at all, ought to have been discussed and decided by a competent tribunal. In your declaration of war against us you maintained and reasserted the right, and. persisted in a claim which you never renounced even when peace was concluded at Ghent. If you, then, claim the right of searching for and capturing under the American flag your subjects who have left Great Britain to avoid impressment, surely we may capture under your flag our subjects who are in the very commission of an act of high treason against their country, proceeding on a mission hostile to its interests?"

In order that you may present your readers with the views of the Executive of the two countries I subjoin an extract from the message of President Maddison to Congress declaring the causes of war, in which the views of that country are clearly stated:-
"British cruisers have been in the continued practice of violating the American flag on the great highway of nations, and of seizing and carrying off persons sailing under it, not in the exercise of a belligerent right, founded on the law of nations, against an enemy, but of a municipal prerogative over British subjects. British jurisdiction is thus extended to neutral vessels in a situation where no laws can operate but the law of nations and the laws of the country to which the vessels belong; and a self-redress is assumed, which, if British subjects were wrongfully detained and alone concerned, is that substitution of force for a resort to the responsible Sovereign which falls within the definition of war. Could the seizure of British subjects in such cases be regarded as within the exercise of a belligerent right, the acknowledged laws of war, which forbid an article of captured property to be adjudged without a regular investigation before a competent tribunal, would imperiously demand lie fairest trial where the sacred rights of persons were at issue. In place of such trial, these rights are subjected to the will of every petty commander. The practice hence is so far from affecting British subjects alone that, under the pretext of searching for these, thousands of American citizens, under the safeguard of public laws and of their national flag, have been torn from their country, and from everything dear to them, - have been dragged on board ships of war of a foreign nation, and exposed, under the severities of their discipline, to be exiled to the most distant and deadly climes, to risk their lives in the battles of their oppressors, and to be the melancholy instruments of taking away those of their own brethren. Against this crying enormity, which Great Britain would be so prompt to avenge if committed against herself, the United States have in vain exhausted remonstrances and expostulations: and that no proof might be wanting of their conciliatory dispositions, and no pretext left for continuance of the practice, the British Government was formally assured of the readiness of the United States to enter into arrangements, such as could not be rejected, if the recovery of the British subjects were the real and sole object. The communication passed without effect."

The Prince Regent, in his message to the Houses of Parliament on the same subject, thus states the views of the British Government (See Parliamentary Debates, vol. 24, from the 24th of November, 1812, to the 9th of March, 1813, p. 374):-
"His Royal Highness can never admit that in the exercise of the undoubted and hitherto undisputed right of searching neutral merchant vessels in time of war the impressment of British seamen when found therein can be deemed any violation of a neutral flag, neither can he admit that the taking such seamen from on board such vessels can be considered by any neutral State as a hostile measure or a justifiable cause of war. There is no right more clearly established than the right which a Sovereign has to the allegiance of subjects, more especially in a time of war.

"Their allegiance is no optional duty which they can decline and resume at pleasure. It is a call which they are bound to obey; it began with their birth, and can only terminate with their existence."

I believe that neither we nor the Americans can maintain the claims which we then and they now assert. If these rights exist, they must be reciprocal, and must extend to all nations. What should we say to the Emperor of the French, if at war with Russia, searching our vessels for refugees from his marine conscription?

The cases are not exactly parallel, but, at any rate, to use an old saying, "two wrongs cannot make a right," but the recollection of the treatment to which we formerly subjected American subjects will probably mitigate our resentment at the wrong which we now endure, and if our demands be met in a moderate spirit the present occurrence may be the means of placing the relations of the two nations on a satisfactory basis.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Nov. 30. EX OFFICIO.
Ma 2 December 1861The fine steam transport Melbourne, Capt. Benson, 1,441 gross tonnage, chartered on Saturday and surveyed by the Admiralty Commissioners, for the despatch of troops and war materials to America, arrived at Woolwich pier the same evening, and commenced shipping yesterday morning. She will continue receiving the supplies night and day until her cargo is complete. She is under orders to sail on Thursday from Woolwich for Halifax, or any other port more available in our American possessions. The cargo will consist of the following stores:- 25,000 stand of arms and accoutrements, a large number of brass howitzers and other smooth-bore guns, one battery of 12-pounder and one battery of 9-pounder guns, gun-carriages, platforms, &c. Capt. G.H. Vesey's 5th Battery, 4th Brigade, Field Artillery, supplied with Armstrong guns, consisting of seven officers and about 240 men, will arrive at Woolwich by special train on Wednesday from Bristol, and will embark on the following morning on board the Melbourne.

The Hero, 89, screw, Capt. Ryder, at Spithead, has dockyard artisans working on board her extra hours to expedite her departure to join Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Milne's squadron on the North-America and West India Station.
Tu 3 December 1861


It is idle to weary ourselves with guessing at an enigma which must so soon explain itself. We do not know now, but we cannot be long kept in ignorance of the real meaning of the strange policy which, ever since they have fallen out so grievously among themselves, the United States have thought fit to adopt towards this country. Little right as we had to be surprised at anything that might come from such a quarter, we were not prepared for the systematic and virulent hostility manifested towards us ever since the accession of Mr. Lincoln to office. Everything we did was misconstrued and misrepresented. The vilest motives were attributed to our best-meant actions, and threats of a significance which it was impossible to misunderstand have been continually launched against us by the Government and Press of the United States. Not less remarkable than the determination to see nothing right in what England did was the equally strong resolution to make us a foil to the merits of France. When any suggestion more than usually defamatory was hazarded, it was accompanied with some such remark as "France will not," "England dare not." Just as the one was to be abused, the other was to be flattered. We cannot, as we have said, at present guess the full meaning of American policy; but it looked as if the Cabinet of Washington believed that by a judicious distribution of praise and abuse they were able to induce France to join them in an attack against England. Mr. Seward seemed to have brought himself to the belief that conquests in the North were to indemnify him for losses in the South, and that while he was fighting the Confederates with the one hand, and Canada with the other, France could be persuaded to become a partner of the war and a sharer of the booty.

One part of his policy the American Government have succeeded in driving to the extremity to which it has so long been tending. They will receive in a few days our demand of reparation, and it will be in their power by a single monosyllable to obtain what they have so long desired - the blessings of a war with Great Britain. It is high time, therefore, that the other half of their policy should bear its fruit, and that, as England has been effectually alienated, so France should be as effectually conciliated. This, however, does not seem likely to be the case. The same packet which bore to America the demands of the British Government would also apprise her of the views of France, of her opinion with regard to the rights of the quarrel, and of the course of action which alone she deems worthy of England under such circumstances. In appreciating the conduct of the American officer as regards the seizure of enemies on board a neutral ship the French Press has shown a remarkable unanimity. They denounce such an attack on the rights of neutrals, and argue the matter with all that transparent clearness of statement and perfection of arrangement which is the pre-eminent gift of their language and their race. All the adulation, all the flattery of the last year, has been wholly thrown away upon France, and her public writers employ, in speaking on the subject of debate, a language far less guarded than the Press of England has felt it its duty to use. The conduct of Commodore Wilkes is denounced as "a brutal outrage," and the right of the English Government to demand reparation is shown to be founded on the clearest principles of International Law, which treat a ship as a portion of the soil of the country to which it belongs, and allow no violation of it by armed force, except with the view of calling in the aid of a court of justice to punish actual delinquency on the part of its owners or its commander. If America wants authority as to the true nature of the act for which she is summoned to make reparation, she has it, not in the assertions and arguments of England, an interested party, but in the views enunciated by France, a country standing impartial between the two Powers, and neither seduced by interest nor urged by partiality to an undue defence of the acts or reasons of England. We hope that such an opinion may have its due weight, and may convince those with whom the decision rests that it is more honourable to make reparation for what has been done than to adopt and justify it.

Lest, however, such, motives should fail of their due effect under the influence of an irritation against England so studiously fomented for so long a time, the French Press proceeds to consider the important problem - "What should be the attitude of France under existing circumstances?" "It is difficult," says the Patrie, a semi-official journal, "for France to remain indifferent in presence of a violation of International Law which concerns all maritime nations. We believe that very likely the Northern States will refuse to accede to the demand made by England. In that case, we may presume that war will be immediately declared, and the first act of hostility will be the recognition of the Southern States." We cite these words because it is very desirable for those with whom the ultimate decision rests to understand not merely what is thought in England about the quarrel, but what is felt to be its inevitable consequence. One portion of the American Press maintains that what has been done is lawful; another concedes that it was not strictly according to rule, but disbelieves the disposition of England to resent it. It is right that they should know what not only English, but European opinion, exacts from persons who have received such an indignity as has been offered to us. We beg the American Government carefully to weigh and consider the answer which a journal believed more than any other to express the real sentiments of the Emperor makes to the question it has thrown out, - "What ought, under such circumstances, to be the attitude of France V?" "We cannot," it says, "remain idle spectators of a struggle between North America and England. It is quite clear that it is not our duty to avenge the wrongs of England, but the recognition of the South by that Power, which would imply a final separation from the United States, could not he regarded as an isolated act, and would impose upon France the necessity of assuming a decisive attitude on this question. The result would be that two great maritime Powers of Europe might be drawn into a common action with the same identical political object." These words should be well weighed before an answer is given to the demand of Lord Lyons. We have abstained from threats, for, being really anxious for a pacific termination of the quarrel, we have had no wish to enlist against us the sympathies of a brave and high-spirited people, and would rather owe a satisfactory settlement to feelings of right and justice than to any apprehension of consequences. But it is still right America should feel that we are not likely to stand alone in this matter.

America refused in 1856 to assent to those improvements of International Law which met with the assent and co-operation of all the European Powers. It would seem as if she meditated isolating herself from the rest of the world on this subject, and claiming to break through at her sovereign will and pleasure those rules by which other nations are content to be bound. She should not press too hardly on the patience of Europe. In the fruitless attempt to conquer a number of States which have for ever thrown off her sway America has locked up the raw material of a manufacture by which millions of Englishmen and Frenchmen live. The blow has fallen heavily on England, still more heavily on France; but both have borne it with patience, because they feel that as leaders in the great community of nations they are bound to support by their obedience that code of International Law which forms one of the noblest and most substantial triumphs of civilization over barbarism. But, while they are sacrificing their dearest interests without a murmur on the shrine of right and legality, they find, with indignation, that the very Power which exacts these sacrifices sets at defiance the principles of that International Law to which it appeals. Requiring, on the one hand, the most punctilious deference to her belligerent rights in a war of which she at the same moment denies the existence, America refuses to show the slightest respect for the soil of a neutral Power or the deck of a neutral ship. International Law is made for her, but not against her. She binds others, but will not be bound herself. Such pretensions, so exorbitant and so unreasonable, naturally arouse against her the feelings of nations whose rights have not yet been attacked, but who see with dismay the establishment of doctrines subversive of all public law, and know not how soon their turn may come to be made subjects for their application. Nothing but commanding power can maintain such an attitude, and it behoves the Northern States to take a calm and careful measure of their resources before they thus arrogantly throw down the gauntlet not merely to England, but to the rest of the civilized world, else they may find both that "England dare'' and "France will."
Tu 3 December 1861Commodore Wilkes, of the Federal States' Navy, has startled his own countrymen as thoroughly as he has us. At this moment he is probably the happiest man in the Northern States. He has arrived at that sort of Filibustering notoriety which in America is often accepted as fame. By the cheap exploit of arresting an unarmed vessel and kidnapping four peaceful passengers he has attracted as much attention as if he had really done some deed of danger. By the safe bravado of insulting the English flag when flying on board an undefended ship he has become as notorious as if he had dared some act of heroism which might have recoiled upon his own proper person. The stupid mobs and still more stupid newspapers who cry up these mock celebrities have done much to spread throughout the American service a notion that it is more profitable to be insolent and lawless than to be brave and dutiful. When General Summner violates the territory of a weak neutral State he is applauded for his patriotism, and when Commodore Wilkes commits an act of piracy on the high seas the first impulse of an American mob is to give him a testimonial. But hardly has the great Yankee mouth been opened for a shout of triumph when the sound seems to stick in the throat. There is an uncomfortable consciousness that this is not like other cheap heroics. This exploit against the Trent was, at first sight, only a bit of bluster against England, such as General Harney might enact to his own interest off Vancouver's Island; but after a moment's reflection the suspicion arose that there might be something much more grave in the present experiment. The news by the Persia shows that the Federal public and Press have received their Commodore's exploit with considerable misgivings as to the consequences. The most sanguine would appear to hope that England will be content to pass this over with contempt, as she has passed over scores of petty incivilities; the most unscrupulous affect to taunt us beforehand with the emptiness of our anticipated indignation; but there are others who see clearly that an act has been done which must be either justified or retracted. Some portion of the New York Press discovered instinctively the weakness of their case, and point out that the American captain was wrong in not taking the Trent into port, and procuring her condemnation in a Prize Court.

This is the whole point at issue. At the present stage of the affair we have nothing to do with any other point than this, - Was the First Lieutenant of the San Jacinto justified an taking upon himself the duties of an Admiralty Judge on board a British ship on the high seas? It is vain to tell us what might have happened if the Trent had been carried into port. It is impertinent to attempt to divert the discussion to questions as to whether Diplomatic Envoys passing to neutral ports are contraband of War, or to waste learning upon the point of how far a Mail steamer can be held responsible for the content of her Mail bags, or a passenger steamer for the character of her passengers. None of these questions have arisen or can arise during this controversy. The opportunity for discussing them has been forcibly suppressed by the violent acts of four boats' crews of American seamen. The Law of Nations has pointed out a course of action by which all these difficult points might have been mooted and decided. An American officer has, however, set at nought the Law of Nations, and has substituted his own prompt decision for that of the Prize Judge. Where are we now to fight out these questions of fact and law? Are they to be decided by the English and American Press? Are they to be argued and settled by diplomatic Notes? A Yankee subordinate officer has already given judgment and effected execution by his own will and with his own sword. Fools may prate in such a matter of the seizure of this vessel being only wrong in form but right in substance. This is one of those very numerous cases in which the whole substance exists in the form. Is a constable to hang a man up to a tree because he and his neighbours believe him to be guilty, and are we to be told that the trial would have been a mere useless form, for that the evidence was so strong that the result would have been the same? If this be so, then Lynch Law is the best rule of right, and England must submit to see it established against her all over the world. Even, however, when the laws of civilization are set at nought, and the summary law of force is brought into action, some sort of trial is generally adopted, some accusation is made, and some opportunity for defence is allowed. These cutlass-and-pistol-bearing Judges of the American Admiralty, however, make no accusation, ask for no explanation, but issue their decrees at once under the British flag, and carry off their condemned without even deigning to state their crime.

Until every man and every thing taken out of the Trent is once more restored to the protection of the flag which has been outraged no question, of contraband of war can arise. If the proper course had been taken, and if the American Government had sought to obtain a condemnation of the Trent by a Court of International Law, we can have no doubt what the result would have been. The American Courts must be very unlike what they have been, and the American Judges must have degenerated very much from the independence and learning of their predecessors, if the capture had not been declared to be altogether untenable, and if an indemnity had not been decreed against the captors. It is quite impossible that in the present state of the world any Court of Admiralty could confiscate a Government Mail packet on account of the contents of Mail bags which are the property of a neutral Government, or on account of the presence of a passenger who was accused of high treason. Such a decision would call up the whole civilized world to protest against it in arms, and could serve no other purpose than to discredit the Court and disgrace the Judge. We should have had but little fear of the result if the case had been allowed to be tried. But, if it had been tried, and if the ship had been by any judicial mismanagement condemned, the Federal States would have had some ground whereon they might stand and argue with us while they held their prisoners. Now they have none. They might have said they were bound to uphold the decision of their own judges; they cannot say, with the world looking on, that they will uphold the judgment of the First Lieutenant of the San Jacinto. The only thing they now can say is what Captain Wilkes is reported to have said, - that, "right or wrong, these men had to be secured."

This is not the way in which a nation which respects its own rights as well as the rights of others can submit to be argued with. We should attach very little importance to the words of Captain Wilkes if these stood alone. But, as the lawyers say, this declaration is part of the res gesta. It is the explanation accompanying the act. It is, moreover, the declaration of a man whose acts have been adopted by the populace, and, as there is too much reason to fear, by the Government of the Northern Republic. We should hope that there is no foundation for the report which we read in the American papers, that Mr. Lincoln had himself, on receipt of intelligence of this outrage, affirmed that the Commissioners should not be surrendered, even if a war with Great Britain should be the alternative. Such a declaration would manifest at once a sense of being in the wrong and a determination to force us to submit to that wrong. It would confirm our Special Correspondent's prediction, that "in the present temper of the American people, no concession can avert serious complications very long." Lest we should still be in doubt as to the intentions of the Federal statesmen to make their acts and their words accord, our New York Correspondent, who states the Federal case with all the ardour of a most sanguine Northerner, tells us that the seizure of the Trent is but the first of a series of similar acts; that steamers are being fitted out at New York for the express purpose of committing similar outrages upon our flag; that they have been designedly intrusted to the command of "young officers and that these young officers have been authorized to exercise great latitude in the execution of their instructions, and have received assurances in advance of the support of the Government."

It is evident that if England shall be found ready to eat dirt there is no lack of Americans ready to cram it down her throat. They are constantly boasting of their right to share in our history and our literature. Where can they have read that Englishmen have ever endured insults and injuries such as these? What right have they to speculate that we have fallen so low beneath the spirit of our fathers that we shall submit to in- dignities systematically inflicted, no one of which has ever yet in all our history passed unresented? It is melancholy indeed that a war should be forced upon us by mere wanton folly, for never was there a case in which a nation was more innocently dragged into a quarrel. We care nothing for these two Confederate officials. Our New York Correspondent reminds us to-day that one of them is known to us chiefly by his constant abuse of this country. We have no particular reason to sympathize with the mob of New Orleans rather than with the mob of New York, for our Special Correspondent, writing from Washington, says that it will be necessary to send a ship of war to New Orleans to protect British subjects resident in that city from the violence of its citizens. We have broken no blockade, we have endured without a murmur the inconveniences inflicted upon our trade, and we have trodden the straight line of neutrality with a scrupulous exactitude. What, then, have we done that we should be made the object of intolerable aggressions which we cannot, even if we would, endure? It is vain to say that if war has been, as we now believe it to have been, determined upon long ago, it could not happen at a time when it would find us better prepared, or when it would cost us less. The prospect of war, and of such a war, cannot but be fearful, let it happen when and under what circumstances it may. But, if war must come, we shall at least have the consolation that all the civilized world joins in a common indignation against the enemy, which has only become an enemy of England by violating the laws which are the safeguards of civilization and which keep nations at peace.
Tu 3 December 1861


The following correspondence has been forwarded to us for publication:-
"Admiralty, Dec. 2,1861 "Sir, - Having laid before my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty your communication of this day's date, enclosing letters from seamen belonging to the Royal Naval Reserve at the ports of London, Liverpool, Sunderland, and North Shields, expressing their readiness to join the Navy for immediate service, I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to signify their direction to you to forward to each of these ports the expression of their Lordships' high satisfaction at the loyal and patriotic feeling so readily and cheerfully manifested by the able seamen of the Royal Naval Reserve, My Lords rely with the most entire confidence that the hearty services of the Royal Naval Reserve will be forthcoming should Her Gracious Majesty see fit, by Royal proclamation, to call for them.
"I am, Sir,
"Your most obedient, humble servant,
"Commodore Controller-General of Coast Guard."

"'To the Shipping Master, Limehouse.
"'We, the Volunteers of the Royal Naval Reserve in the port of London, having heard that our flag has been grossly insulted by an American ship of war, and people who claimed its protection forcibly taken from it and made prisoners, we write this to let you know that we are ready to fulfil our engagement and protect the honour of our flag, our good Queen, and country whenever called upon to do so.
"'We respectfully request you will make this our determination known in the proper quarter.
"'Signed on behalf of the Volunteer Reserve Force at present in London.'" (Here follow the signatures.)

"'To Captain Luckraft, R.N.
"'Her Majesty's ship Hastings, Liverpool, Nov. 30,1861.
"'Hearing that our flag has been insulted, we, the Royal Naval Reserve men of Liverpool, would esteem it a favour if you will kindly represent to the proper quarter our entire willingness to serve and protect our gracious Queen and country and the integrity of the flag under which our fathers gloriously fought and conquered.
"'J.B. BECK, for the Liverpool Volunteers of the Royal Naval Reserve.'"

"'To Captain Palmer, R.N., Her Majesty's Ship Castor.
"'Her Majesty's Ship Castor, North Shields, Nov, 30,1861.
"'Sir,- Having heard that our country's flag has been grossly insulted by an American ship of war, and people who claimed, its protection forcibly taken from it and made prisoners, we write this to let you know that we are ready and willing, and that at the shortest possible notice, to protect the honour of our flag, our Queen, and country wherever and whenever called on, or any provocation given for us to do so; and we will do it with a right good will, a proof of which was given when the circumstance was spoken of on the Castor's maindeck this morning, by the whole of us joining with three hearty cheers, and three times three for our Queen and country.
"'Signed by the Volunteers for the Royal Naval Reserve on board.'"
[Here follow the signatures.]

"'To Captain Heard,
"'Her Majesty's ship Trincomalee, Sunderland, Nov. 30, 1861.
"'Sir, - At a general meeting held on board Her Majesty's training-ship Trincomalee, now lying in the South Dock.
"'Sir, seeing by the Shipping and Mercantile Gazette the insult offered to the British flag by the Americans, we, the undersigned Naval Reserve men, do freely and spontaneously come forward and offer our service to resent the insult, and will shed the last drop of our blood against any nation who dares to insult our gracious Queen or national flag.
"'Signed on behalf of the meeting, over 100 present,
"'JOHN ROBERTSON", Chairman.'"
We 4 December 1861



At the annual root show of the Botley and South Hants Farmers' Club on Monday, in the Market-hall of Botley, the Hon. R.H. Dutton[Ralph Heneage Dutton, 1821-1892, Conservative MP for Hampshire South], replying for the county members, touched upon the late outrage committed upon the British flag by an American war-ship, and said:-However much we might have regretted the American internal disruption, how much more must we regret now to see the Northern States embroiling themselves with an European Power. This country had agreed to be perfectly neutral in respect to the American civil war, and had so conducted her affairs since the differences began; but yet, in the Northern States, for some time, there had been an evident wish to pick a quarrel with the mother country. It was only the other day we were wondering how we should treat the affair of the Nashville Confederate steamer, which had come into Southampton after taking a Federal prize and while orders on this affair were still pending, came the startling event of one of our own vessels being boarded by a ship carrying the flag of the Federal Government. The first great question was, would our jurists decide this to be a hostile act, or not? He at first certainly thought it must be an act of an aggressive character; and now there was no difference of opinion, as both the Government and the great jurists who advised the country all considered the act as an aggressive one. He was very glad to see the Government, of which Lord Palmerston was the head, acting so promptly. Though he was not exactly a supporter of the Premier he did not think the country could he in safer hands. (Hear.) He thought no Government could have lasted one week after meeting the Parliament if they had not taken the course just adopted by Her Majesty's Ministers. (Hear.) There was no taxpayer in this country who would refuse to pay his share of any extra cost to carry that demand of restitution out. (Hear.) Then, how would our demand be met in America, thought they? He doubted if there would not be some hesitation in giving up these men, and then instant war would ensue. It would not, however, prove, if it came, a costly war for us. Happily for us, and unhappily for America, the navy of England was never in a better condition, and if it did attack them it would make a perfect havoc of their carrying trade, which was to them of immense importance, as they did all their own coasting trade, with their own bottoms, from the whole of the American lines to California, and they could not employ foreign shipping. It will then be but a matter of a few weeks for the English vessels to cripple their whole strength. America had many great commercial towns on her coasts, but they possessed, none of them, any fortification whatever that could withstand even the onslaught of our very old-fashioned three-deckers. If these things be considered in America they must be mad to rush into war; but he was afraid that country was not ruled at present by its wisest men. Their chairman had said just now that monarchical Governments were on their trial, but it certainly seemed that democratical Governments were on their trial.


At the opening of the Volunteer Barracks at Bradford, on Saturday, or rather at the luncheon in connexion with, the event, Captain Forster, M.P.[William Edward Forster, 1818-1886, Liberal M.P. for Bradford], responded at some lengths to the toast of "The Borough Members." With regard to the present American difficulty, he urged his hearers not to take it for granted that on account of what had happened therefore the American Government would not make reparation. He could not believe that they would be guilty of the insanity and wickedness of involving themselves in a war with this country. They all felt as much as he did the fearful interests which would be at stake if England were under the necessity of going to war with any country, but more especially in going to war with America, for such a conflict must be regarded as a civil war. There were at stake not only the great commercial interests which bound the two nations together, but there was hardly a street in our towns in which there were not families from which members had gone to reside in the United States; so that a war between these countries would be the same as a civil war. Nothing, then, could be more disastrous and ruinous than a war between these countries. They must all earnestly pray, therefore, to be kept out of war. If our Government, failing in obtaining redress, decided upon an appeal to the sword, then the responsibility must rest with those who had driven us into it. But he could not believe that such would be the case. He felt confident that the American Government would make reasonable reparation; and he believed the English Government would demand nothing more. He fully believed that no American Government would venture upon the insane course of involving these two countries in war; or if they did so, he believed the American people themselves would speedily show their disapproval, and insist upon the necessary reparation being offered.
We 4 December 1861The comments of the New York journals on the seizure of the Trent produce a feeling not so much of disappointment as of melancholy. We had hoped, and, in spite of every species of discouragement, we have clung to the hope, that beyond the Atlantic would arise a race not only speaking our language, but destined to give to the world a new type of civilization, and to take its place not only among the most powerful, but among the most respectable nations of the earth. With no motive for aggression, with every blessing of nature lavishly spread out before them, with the advantage of our dearly-bought experience in every species of conjuncture, and with institutions to copy from matured by the struggles and sacrifices of eight hundred years, we were not over-sanguine in supposing that our former colonies were launched on a career as brilliant and glorious as could be wished for them.

We pass over all intermediate causes of regret and dissatisfaction to fix our attention the more closely on the spectacle which America at present presents, as depicted by the pens of her own writers and the tongues of her own Statesmen. She is engaged in a desperate Civil War for causes which, beyond her own border, no one can be found to approve. She is exercising the belligerent right of blockading two-thirds of the sea-coast of territory with which she does not admit that she is at war - that is, she is requiring from the rest of the world enormous sacrifices on the ground of the existence of a war which she herself denies to exist. To this utterly inconsistent claim we, at an enormous sacrifice, have submitted without a murmur. We have not given the slightest cause of complaint, except by our readiness to avow and practise that neutrality which must form the foundation for the belligerent rights she asserts. She threatens to hang the crews of Southern privateers because she does not admit their belligerent rights, and she seizes Southern citizens on the deck of a neutral ship because she contends that they are Ambassadors, and therefore contraband of war - that is, of a war that does not exist. This is the dignified and consistent attitude which America takes up in the face of the world. As to ourselves, whatever be the pretext she puts forward, whatever the character she has assumed, she has from the first outbreak of hostilities pursued precisely the same course. For some reason or another it has been determined that England should either be driven into a war which she is obviously most anxious to avoid, or be made to drink to the dregs the cup of bitter humiliation. Any one who reads the journal of our Special Correspondent will see that he, as an impartial observer, was perfectly prepared for the perpetration of some such outrage as that which has occurred in the case of the Trent. "It is to my mind incontrovertible," he says, "that the most certain way of achieving distinction or success in politics in the United States is by directing popular animosity against the British Government. I feel compelled to state the conviction of my mind that there are elements of danger to friendly relations in the state of feeling which has been aroused." The act of Commodore Wilkes may be due to his own personal vanity or wrongheaded patriotism, but we cannot doubt that we owe it mainly to the tone taken towards us by the Government, and violently re-echoed from the Press of America. Well, they have had their wish. They have succeeded in putting themselves in a position in which they will have to swallow in the face of the world the vauntings and tauntings of the last twelve months, to make full reparation and restitution, to disavow the acts of the officer whom they are treating as a benefactor to his country, and to whom they propose to give "a Fourth of July all to himself," or they will have to abide consequences so serious that they might make the most thoughtless for a moment sober and sedate.

Let any one compare the tone of the Press of this country on the receipt of the news of the violation of our flag with that of the American Press, and draw his own conclusions. For the English Press we claim no particular credit; it has acted, as it was sure to do, in accordance with the feeling of the nation, and that feeling was to look at the matter with the most judicial impartiality, to arrive at a conclusion deliberately, and to act upon it unflinchingly. The people and Press of England have acted, as they were bound to do, with a heavy sense of the responsibility they incur, and a suitable reluctance to commit themselves to the awful alternative, to which they now stand engaged, of reparation or war. How different the tone of the New York journals, from whose columns we gave copious extracts in our impression of yesterday! How light the manner, how flippant the treatment, how utterly unworthy of the greatness of the occasion, of the momentous issue which remains, not for us, but for America to decide! "What Great Britain will say," says the New York Tribune, "we do not know, and do not greatly care." The New York World facetiously proposes that they should hang the prisoners first and make amends for them afterwards. The New York Journal of Commerce exhorts England honourably to preserve her neutrality, and points out that the conduct of the American officer was a pure act of mercy to the Trent. The New York Times has not the slightest idea that England will even remonstrate. On the contrary, she will applaud the gallant act. The same journal thinks that the question of the Trent will form a subject of debate for English party politics, the Liberals being in favour of the seizure and the Tories against it. The New York Shipping and Commercial List thinks any trouble which may arise may easily be adjusted by a little skilful diplomacy. That England and the United States can be so readily plunged into war with each other seems to it altogether incredible.

Can anything be more melancholy than the perusal of such articles, except the reflection that it is out of such stuff as this that the governing opinion of America is made; and what is the short, but momentous issue, which that governing opinion will now be called upon to decide? This is no case for skilful diplomacy, for wire-drawn arguments from misquoted or misunderstood authorities, for retort, for ridicule, or for bluster. Sad and serious is the question which the American people must answer, and unspeakably important the results that hang on it. Either America must stop short in the aggressive and overbearing course on which she has entered, must retrace her steps, and make such reparation as to leave even the New York Press no excuse for saying that she has gained anything by doing violence to men who sought protection under the British flag, or she must prepare to assert in another arena the claim to trample under her feet the plainest rules of International Law and the dearest rights of friendly Powers. Have her Statesmen and her Press, who think it so safe and so profitable an amusement to insult the flag of Great Britain, really set themselves to consider the position they will occupy should the whole weight of this empire be thrown - perhaps not alone - into the vibrating scales of the Civil War? We recoil from such a conflict, for we well know what even we must suffer, with everything in our favour, before we bring it to a victorious issue. A vast accumulated wealth, the hopes of an unborn civilization, many kindly feelings, and many lives of brave men must be flung away before that contest will be ended. We can look on it with hope, nay, under existing conditions, with a very reasonable confidence of success. For America, we need not look into the distant future, nor suppose on our part any very signal exertion of skill or valour, but we may reasonably predict that three things will follow almost immediately on the breaking out of war - the destruction of the Southern blockade, a complete blockade of the North, and the recognition of the Southern States as an independent Power by England and France. We leave the American Press, when they have recovered from the outburst of hilarity caused by recent events, to tell us what will be the result of such occurrences on the prospects of conquering the South and of retaining the Southern States in the same Confederacy. They may divert themselves yet a little longer at our expense, but, unless they are even now entering on a calmer mood, they will speedily curse the blind guides that led them to force a quarrel on England, and the unpardonable levity and presumption which induced them to follow such guidance.
We 4 December 1861If our present dispute with the Northern States of America should unhappily result in war, we shall at least have the satisfaction of accepting that extremity not only with the consciousness of a good cause, but with such a confidence in our power as could never have been entertained at a like crisis before. It has almost passed into a proverb that war finds England unprepared. We have resources, it is true, and, as our national character enables us to endure until these resources are brought into play, we not only survive a shock received at a disadvantage, but usually find ourselves stronger at the end of the struggle than we were at the beginning. Now, however, we are for once in a totally different position. We stand literally armed to the teeth. Either by land or by sea we could exert a power incredibly greater than at any time during the last 40 years. We have not only a strong army and a most formidable fleet, but both our military and naval forces are equipped with all the tremendous appliances of modern warfare. The large but judicious expenditure of the last five years is now bearing its fruit, and we find ourselves in a state of complete preparation against an emergency which is none the less serious from having been little anticipated. Indeed, although, it is hazardous and unwise to hold any enemy cheap, we cannot possibly regard the regular Navy of America as competent for a moment to cope with our own. The position of the Americans at this time is much such as ours was 25 years ago. They are a strong, rich, resolute, and enterprising people. A large portion of the nation takes to the sea as naturally as we do, they are excellent naval architects, and they have always proved daring sailors. The Northern States, in short, possess all the elements of maritime power, but the power has not been created. They could have a fleet in time, but they have not got one as it is. It has been as much as they could do to blockade the ports of the Confederates, while, if half of what we have recently been taught is true, the few frigates which carry the Federal flag must be next to useless against modern ordnance. We have only just convinced ourselves that solid walls of teak and iron can keep out those terrible projectiles which in ten minutes would set any ordinary vessel in flames. We have been lavishing money and pains without stint in furnishing one-half of our ships with irresistible artillery and the other half with impenetrable armour. Unless all our recent exertions have been gratuitous and fruitless, the American men-of-war, with their combustible sides, must be but poor matches for our own. If they are really as strong as we are, the "reconstruction" of our Navy has been a very unnecessary and profitless undertaking.

But there is another and a most important point at which our present position can be strikingly contrasted with our position in former times. We had always got money, and we had generally got ships, but we had never got men. The problem of "Manning the Navy " was invariably regarded as the most difficult of all the problems connected with the national defences. Nobody could ever tell where sailors were to come from at the outbreak of a war, and it was doubted whether our maritime power might not be seriously endangered for want of these vital supplies. How different our position is at this moment may be seen from a statement which we publish this morning. Besides a Channel Fleet and a strong squadron already on the North-American station; besides the Coastguard and the seamen voted in no illiberal spirit by the last Estimates, we have at length, in the very nick of time, got a real Naval Reserve. That force, which at first grew so slowly, is at last firmly rooted, and its proportions are now satisfactory in the extreme. That we are not in the least exaggerating its value or importance will be evident when we say that the number, of able seamen actually enrolled in the Reserve would enable us, with the ordinary additions of hands always procurable, to send to sea a fleet of thirty line-of-battle ships. That the spirit, too, now animating this important force is all that could be desired will have been seen from the addresses which we published yesterday, in which the men on board the various training-ships instinctively, and without a minute's hesitation, volunteered their immediate services to fight for their Queen and flag. Add these men to the men voted by Parliament and it will soon be seen with what an overpowering force we could instantly take the seas.

The Royal Naval Reserve, it is now clear, was organized on good principles, and it really seems as if the excellence of the terms offered was at first one of the chief drawbacks experienced. The men could hardly believe that Government was ready to give so much on condition of receiving so little, and the old suspicions entertained of the Admiralty were rather quickened than allayed by the unexpected attractions of the new bargain. After an interval, however, of distrust and hesitation the men of the Northern ports, remarkable for their intelligence and foresight, deputed a committee to examine the scheme, and the result of this inquiry was a cordial approval of the Government proposition. From this moment the success of the project became assured. At first, if a dozen men were entered for the Reserve in. the course of a week it was as much as was done, but the example of the north-country seamen was not lost, and the entries gradually rose from 10 a-week to 50, from 50 to 100, from 100 to 150, and so on, until at present the average number of weekly applications for enrolment exceeds 200, and is steadily on the increase still. It must be understood that these are all picked men of the very first quality; so much so, indeed, as to be perfectly equal to the same class in the Royal Navy. They now amount in number to about 8,000, and the applications at present under consideration will add 600 more to the force in the course of a fortnight. The true value of this Reserve will not be appreciated unless it is remembered that an "able seaman" counts for considerably more than an ordinary seaman in the estimate of a ship's company. In the 50,000 sailors now employed in the Royal Navy there are but some 15,000 rated as "A. B.'s," so that the addition of 8,000 and upwards to this class would be equivalent to an addition of more than three times that extent to the maritime resources of the nation. There is very little difficulty in getting ordinary hands if a nucleus of skilled men can be provided to start with. Nor must it be forgotten that the emergency itself will lend a powerful impulse to the enrolment already so popular. Instead of 200 applicants a-week, we are now likely to see twice as many, so that the resources of England, hitherto realized with so much delay and loss, will be available instantly on a declaration of war.

It is in no spirit of arrogance or menace that we have made these remarks. We should far prefer to find that a survey of our strength had induced the Americans to put a proper interpretation upon the forbearance we have hitherto shown, and, by consequence, to estimate fairly the demands to which we have at length been driven. We do not wish them to regard us as dictating terms to them or presuming on our extraordinary readiness for the last appeal. We ask only to be considered as a Power entitled to respect, and incapable of submitting to injustice. They know as well as we do the strength which we command, and the double advantages which their embarrassments and our own preparations happen just now to give us. All we ask of them, with these facts in view, is not to make us choose between war and dishonour. If they will leave us any other alternative, they may depend upon finding us as anxious to remain at peace with them as if we had not got a dozen ships afloat or a thousand sailors at our call.
We 4 December 1861


The following is a list of all the vessels of war now actually belonging to or in the possession of the Northern States, exclusive only of the merchant and other vessels which have been taken up as store and troop ships since last May and June:-

Ships of the line.

The Pennsylvania, 120 guns, 3,241 tons, built in 1837 - receiving ship, Norfolk.
The Columbus, 80 guns, 2,480 tons, built in 1819; in ordinary - Norfolk.
The Ohio, 84 guns, 2,757 tons, built in 1820 - receiving ship, Boston.
The North Carolina, 84 guns, 2,633 tons, built in 1820 - receiving ship, New York.
The Delaware, 84 guns, 2,633 tons, built in 1820; in ordinary - Norfolk.
The Vermont, 84 guns, 2,633 tons, boat in 1840; in ordinary - Boston.
The New Orleans, 84 guns, 2,805 tons, built in 1815; on the stocks - Sackett's-harbour.
The Alabama, 84 guns, 2,633 tons, built In 1818; on the stocks - Kittery.
The Virginia, 84 guns, 2,633 tons, built in 1818; on the stocks - Boston.
The New York, 84 guns, 2,633 tons, built in 1818; on the stocks - Norfolk.


The Constitution, 50 guns, 1,607 tons, built in 1797; in commission - Annapolis.
The United States, 50 guns, 1,607 tons, built in 1797; in ordinary - Norfolk.
The Potomac, 50 guns, 1,726 tons, built in 1820; in ordinary - New York.
The Brandywine, 50 guns, 1,726 tons, built in 1825; in ordinary - New York.
The Columbia, 50 guns, 1,726 tons, built in 1836; in ordinary - Norfolk.
The Congress, 50 guns, 1,867 tons, built in l841; in commission - South America.
The Raritan, 50 guns, 1,726 tons, built in 1843; in ordinary - Norfolk.
The St. Lawrence, 50 guns, 1,726 tons, built in 1847; in ordinary - Philadelphia.
The Santee, 50 guns, 1,726 tons, built in1855; in commission - Home station.
The Sabine, 50 guns, 1,726 tons, built in 1855; in commission - Home station.


The Cumberland, 24 guns, 1,726 tons, built in 1842; in commission - Home.
The Savannah, 24 guns, 1,726 tons, built in 1842; fitting out - New York.
The Constellation, 22 guns, 1,452 tons, built in 1854; in commission - Africa.
The Macedonian, 22 guns, 1,341 tons, built in 1836; in commission - Home.
The Portsmouth, 22 guns, 1,022 tons, built in 1843; in commission - Home.
The Plymouth, 22 guns, 989 tons, built in 1843; in ordinary - Norfolk.
The St. Mary's, 22 guns, 958 tons, built in 1844; in commission - South America.
The Jamestown, 22 guns, 935 tons, built in 1844; fitting out - Philadelphia.
The Germantown, 22 guns, 939 tons, built in 1846; in ordinary - Norfolk.
The Saratoga, 20 guns, 882 tons, built in 1842; in commission - Home.
The John Adams, 20 guns, 700 tons, built in 1831; in commission - East Indies.
The Vincennes, 20 guns, 700 tons, built in 1828; in ordinary - Boston.
The Vandalia, 20 guns, 783 tons, built in 1828; in commission - East Indies.
The St Louis, 20 guns, 700 tons, built in 1828; in commission - Home.
The Cyane, 20 guns, 792 tons, built in 1837; in commission - South America.
The Levant, 20 guns, 792 tons, built in 1337; in commission - Home.
The Decatur, 16 guns, 566 tons, built in 1839: in ordinary - San Francisco.
The Marian, 16 guns, 566 tons, built in 1839; in ordinary - Portsmouth, N.H.
The Dale, 16 guns, 566 tons, built in 1839; in ordinary - Portsmouth, N.H.
The Preble, 16 guns, 566 tons, built in 1839; in ordinary - Boston.


The Bainbridge, 6 guns, 259 tons, built in 1842; fitting -Boston.
The Perry, 6 guns, 280 tons, built in 1843; fitting - New York.
The Dolphin, 4 guns, 224 tons, built in 1836 ; ordinary - Norfolk.

Store and Troop Vessels.

The Relief, 2 guns, 468 tons, built in 1836; commission - Africa.
The Supply, 4 guns, 547 tons, purchased in 1846; commission - Home.
The Release, 1 gun, 327 tons, purchased in 1846; commission - the Mediterranean.

Screw Frigates.

The Niagara, 12 guns, 4,580 tons, built in 1855 - Japan.
The Roanoke, 40 guns, 3,400 tons, built in 1855 - New York.
The Colorado, 40 guns, 3,400 tons, built in 1855 - Boston.
The Minnesota, 40 guns, 3,200 tons, built in 1855 - Boston.
The Wabash, 40 guns, 3,200 tons, built in 1855 - New York.
The Franklin, 50 guns, 3,680 tons, built in 1854 - Kittery, building.

First-class steam sloops.


The San Jacinto, 13 guns, 1,446 tons, built in 1850 - Home.
The Lancaster, 22 guns, 2,360 tons, built in 1858 - South America.
The Pensacola, 19 guns, 2,158 tons, built in 1858 - Norfolk.
The Brooklyn, 25 guns, 2,070 tons, built in 1858 - Home.
The Hartford, 16 guns,1,990 tons, built in1858 - East Indies.
The Richmond, 14 guns, 1,929 tons, built in 1858 - Home.


The Susquehanna, 15 guns, 2,450 tons, built in 1850 -Home.
The Powhattan, 11 guns, 2,415 tons, built in 1850 - Home.
The Saranac, 9 guns, 1,446 tons, built in 1848 - South America.

Second-class Steam Sloops.


The Mohican, 6 guns, 994 tons, built in 1858 - Home.
The Narragansett, 5 guns, 804 tons, built in 1858 - South America.
The Iroquois,6 guns, 1,016 tons, built in 1858 - Home.
The Pawnee, 4 guns, 1,289 tons, built in 1858 - Home.
The Wyoming, 6 guns, 997 tons, built in 1858 -South America.
The Dacotah, 6 guns, 995 tons, built in 1858 - East Indies.
The Pocahontas, 5 guns, 694 tons, built in 1855 - Home.
The Seminole, 3 guns, 801 tons, built in 1858 - Brazil.


The Pulton, 4 guns, 698 tons, built in 1837 - Pensacola.

Third-class Steamers.


The Wyandotte, 5 guns, 464 tons, built in 1858; in commission - Home.
The Mohawk, 5 guns, 464 tons, built in 1858; in commission - Home.
The Crusader, 8 guns, 549 tons, built in 1858; in commission - Home.
The Mystic, 5 guns, 464 tons, built in 1858; in commission - Home.


The Waterwitch, 3 guns, 378 tons, built in 1845; fitting - Philadelphia.
The Michigan, 1 gun, 582 tons, built in 1844; in ordinary - Erie.
The Pulaski, 1 gun, 395 tons, built in 1858; in commission - South America.
The Saginow, 3 guns, 453 tons, built in 1858; in commission - San Francisco.

Steam Tenders.

The John Hancock, 3 guns, 382 tons, built in 1850; in ordinary - St. Francisco.
The Anacostin, 1 gun, 217 tons, built in 1858; in commission - Washington.
Stevens's iron battery, 8 guns, 4,683 tons, building since 1842 - Hoboken, New Jersey.

Since May last the Federal Government has, it is stated officially, nominally added nearly 100 vessels to this list, a complete account of each of which ought to have reached our Admiralty by the last mail. This supplementary list, however, has not yet arrived, and it is not improbable, considering the present state of our relations with America, that it will not now be sent at all. The omission, however, is a matter of very small importance, as the additional vessels have been officially stated to be all merchant ships bought or chartered by the Government for the conveyance of troops, and only in some few instances fitted with one or two light cannon to assist in blockading the Southern ports. The above list, therefore, in fact, comprises all the actual vessels of war belonging to the Federal Government up to the departure of the last mail. The list looks sufficiently well on paper, though, when we come to examine it, its formidable aspect very rapidly disappears. It is not too much to say that the whole of the first portion of the list down to the screw frigates only enumerates the names of old wooden vessels, which can scarcely be counted as forming any part of the effective Federal Navy. The Pennsylvania, 120, sounds quite large, though, in reality, this old vessel is as harmless as our own Victory, and would fall an easy prey to any of the really powerful American frigates, such as the Niagara, the Brooklyn, the Lancaster, or the Pensacola. In fact, of the first ten ships of the line which head the catalogue not one has ever had a gun in her except the Pennsylvania, which mounts six. The rest, with the exception of the Vermont, are all about the oldest specimens afloat of the very old school of sailing liners. Of the whole ten, four were begun before 1820, and have lain in ordinary ever since, and are, in fact, contemporaries of the clay-coloured Benbows and Melpomenes [not clear which vessel is referred to here; Melpomene was disposed of in 1815, and the subsequent Melpomene had only been launched in 1857] that encumber the waters of the Medway and Hamoaze. Four others in this list were commenced in 1815 and 1818, and are still on the stocks, after a lapse of 45 years! The same remarks apply to most of the sailing frigates, some of which, as our readers will see, were built nearly as far back as 70 years ago, and even the most modern are constructed on the old model as to size. How our own naval architects would stare at being requested to get 50 guns into a ship of 1,600 tons, which, allowing for the difference of American tonnage, represents little over 1,300 tons of ours! In fact, most of the American sailing war vessels are always spoken of by the officers in our service as being "a box of guns." Thus, the St. Louis, Vandalia, Jamestown, and Plymouth, though some of not more than 700 American tons, and none over 1,000, all carry armaments as numerous and almost as heavy as our frigates of nearly four times their size. The result is that "the quarters" in action are so crowded with men and confined in space that the guns cannot be handled, while every enemy's shot coming on board tells with appalling effect among the close groups of seamen. It was the knowledge of the fatal disadvantages under which they laboured in this respect as compared with the frigates of other nations that led the United States' officers to press upon their Government for the construction of frigates of the largest class, capable of carrying heavy guns, and, at the same time, allowing the crews an ample space to work them in. And here we come to the really formidable portion of the Federal Navy. The Niagara was the first attempt at vessels of this class. It was built by Mr. Steers, the builder of the far-famed yacht America. He, however, like all other yacht builders. East or West, sacrificed everything to speed, and so it was found on trial that the Niagara, a vessel of 4,600 tons, was so deeply immersed that the idea of a main deck battery of 30 huge guns had to be given up entirely, and her armament reduced to 12 11-inch Dahlgren shell-guns, all on the spar deck. She is still, however, from her great speed (with steam and sail she can always command from 14 to 15 knots an hour) and her heavy long range armament a formidable cruiser. In their next efforts the American Government were more fortunate, and in the Lancaster, Pensacola, Brooklyn, Hartford, and Richmond, five large and powerful vessels were produced, and sent afloat in 1859. The Brooklyn is the best of these, and the type of her class. With great sailing qualities and high steam power, she can go at almost any rate she pleases, and, above all, she carries well an armament of 25 11-inch shell guns of great length. These enormous ordnance very much resemble in outward appearance cast-iron champagne bottles, and their weight is so great (with their carriages, nearly nine American tons) that the whole of her crew is required to handle one broadside effectively. She, however, and her sisters we have mentioned would still prove heavy overmatches for any slower and lighter armed vessels of war. The San Jacinto was the first experimental vessel of this class, and the Brooklyn is the last and best. No vessel, we may mention, is better known in our service than the Brooklyn, from the part which Captain Walker took when the outcry prevailed in America against the British right of search for slavers. During that exciting time, when a Mosquito fleet of ferry boats and steamers, mounting one gun each, was sent by the Federal Government to the West India station, the Brooklyn made herself conspicuous by beating to quarters whenever an English man-of-war entered Port Royal, and training her guns, so that all might bear on the new comer. This insult was so persistently renewed that the English ships at last replied in kind, and beat to quarters too, whenever the Brooklyn was seen coming towards them off a harbour. But our strongest vessel on the station then was only the Devastation paddle-sloop of six guns. We may, perhaps, mention that the Orlando, 51, and the Mersey, 32, two of the largest frigates in the world, were designed and built as a kind of answer to the building of the Niagara, while the Ariadne and the Galatea quite compensate to our navy for the Brooklyn and vessels of her class.

Perhaps, however, the vessel from the employment of which the Federals entertain the greatest expectations is Stevens's half-submerged iron-plated battery, which is to carry four guns of 15 inches and four of 18! But everything connected with the construction of this vessel is so utterly novel and peculiar that it would be impossible to describe it in this abstract of the Federal Navy.

The total number of captains, commanders, and lieutenants in the navy, amounting in all to upwards of 450, had, up to June last, been reduced by the secession of nearly 200. Since that date very many others have joined the cause of the South, among them the celebrated Commander Maury, whose name in connexion with the progress of the scientific departments of the American Navy is known throughout Europe.
Th 5 December 1861


[A portion of the following appeared in our Second Edition of yesterday:-]
Reuter's telegrams.
PARIS, Dec 4.

The United States' Consul has communicated to the French papers a letter of General Scott [Winfield Scott, 1786-1866, former general-in-chief of the Union army], in which he declares there is no truth in the report that the Cabinet of Washington had ordered the seizure of the Southern Commissioners, even if under the protection of a neutral flag. He is quite ignorant of the decision of his Government, but he says it is necessary to preserve good relations between America and England. "I hope," continues General Scott, "that Earl Russell and Mr. Seward will agree on a solution to the question, whether the persons who were arrested on board the Trent were contraband of war or not. If they were agents of the rebels, it will be difficult to convince even impartial minds that they were less contraband of war than rebel soldiers or cannons."
In conclusion, General Scott expresses his conviction that a war between America and England cannot take place without more serious provocations than those at present given.

The Patrie of this evening has an article, signed by M. Lapenterie, on the Anglo-American difficulty, of which the following is a summary:-
"It is not the mission of France to avenge insults offered to England. If an outrage has been committed on the high seas against the British flag, it does not rest with our Government to demand reparation, nor is it the duty of public opinion in France to resent it. Let us suppose that by an outrage on the French flag we were placed in a similar position to that of England. Under present circumstances we are disinterested. We are not the judges of what becomes the honour of England. For two years the Cabinet of Lord Palmerston has been calling together volunteers, plating frigates with iron, manufacturing rifled cannon, surrounding the English ports with formidable defences, and sustaining itself in Parliament and the country by the aid of a warlike popularity. Having seen such a display and such preparations against phantoms of fear, the counsels which we should give to England must necessarily appear very moderate and timid. If the Cabinet of Washington does not disavow the proceeding of the captain of the San Jacinto, and if England insists on obtaining reparation, a new state of things may be brought about affecting the interests of all the European Powers. If England recognizes the Southern States the Powers must necessarily take such a change into consideration for the sake of their commercial interests, and must desire the termination of the war. If the Southern Confederacy, by its recognition by one of the Great Powers, should enjoy public rights as a nation, the other States would have to consider what attitude such an important modification would impose upon them, and the Cabinet of Washington would bear the responsibility of a resolution which the necessities of commerce and political influence would impose upon Europe."
Th 5 December 1861


Sir,- Your attention has, no doubt, been directed to a letter which is signed "George Sumner," and Is extracted from the Boston Evening Transcript, with the following heading:-
"We are permitted to publish the following authoritative letter from a gentleman whose theoretic and practical knowledge of the law of nations has, perhaps, no superior in the country, in reply to inquiries addressed to him by one of the principal merchants of Boston."

I don't propose to deal with the law laid down in this "authoritative letter," but I have a word to say as to the facts of the "gentleman whose theoretic and practical knowledge of the law of nations has no superior in the country."

Mr. Sumner has quoted a precedent in defence of the captain of the San Jacinto which has attracted an attention to which, if accurately stated, it was well entitled. In order not to do injustice to Mr. Sumner, I give him precedent in his own words:-
"In illustration of this last proposition, let me draw your attention to a case which presents many points of analogy with that under consideration, and which is in itself interesting. During the war of the Revolution Henry Laurens, former President of Congress, was sent as Minister to Holland, with instructions to secure the recognition of our independence, to conclude a treaty, and to negotiate a loan in that country. He remained a long time at Charleston, seeking means to reach his destination, and finally, in February, 1780, went on board the Adriana, a fast-sailing brigantine, the master of which engaged, in spite of the British fleet, to carry him to Martinique. It was not until August that he took passage for Holland in a Dutch packet, The Mercury. In a letter to Congress, written on board the British frigate Vestal, September 14,1780, and which may be found in Sparks's Diplomatic Correspondence of the Revolution, Vol. 2, p. 461, Laurens describes the capture of the packet when three days out, the seizure of his papers, his arrival on board the Vestal at St. John's, Newfoundland, and the order of the Admiral commanding to send him, his secretary, and the captain of the packet as prisoners to England. Holland, was then a neutral Power. Arrived in England, the question arose in the British Ministry whether Laurens should be treated as a prisoner of war, or as a traitor, and the result was that he was committed to the Tower, on the charge of high treason, under a warrant signed by the three Secretaries of State, Lords Stormont, Hillsborough, and G. Germaine. This case shows the practice of England in regard to belligerent ambassadors and the neutral packets which carry them. After the surrender at Yorktown Laurens was put on the footing of a prisoner of war, and exchanged for Lieutenant-General Lord Cornwallis."

Now any one will perceive at once that the whole force of this precedent consists in the statement that the Mercury, on board of which Laurens was seized, was "a Dutch packet," Holland being at that time a "neutral Power." If this were so, the case has indeed a very serious bearing on the present complaint of England against the United States; if the Mercury was not a neutral packet, the case has simply nothing to do with the question.

Now, what is the fact? Where, I ask, did Mr. Sumner find the authority for his statement that the Mercury was a Dutch packet? I have looked at the book which he cites, and I will quote here at length the letter to which he refers:-
"Vestal, British Frigate, St. John's, Newfoundland, Sept. 14,1780.
"Gentlemen,-I had the honour of writing to the Board of Admiralty from on board the Mercury packet, the 23d ult, by Captain Young at parting with the Saratoga. On the 3d inst. the Vestal came in view, and, after a pursuit of some five or six hours, Captain George Keppel took possession of the packet. Mr. Young, Captain Pickles, and myself were conducted on board this ship, and yesterday we arrived here.
Certain papers, among which are all those delivered to me by Mr. Lovell and the Board of Admiralty, fell into Captain Keppel's hands. These papers had been enclosed in a bag, accompanied by a considerable weight of iron shot, and thrown overboard, but the weight proved insufficient for the purpose intended. Admiral Edwards, governor of this island and commander of the stationed squadron, has ordered me to England in the sloop of war Fairy, under the command of Captain Keppel. Mr. Young and Captain Pickles will probably go in the same vessel.
I should be wanting in justice, and, indeed, deficient in common gratitude, were I to omit an acknowledgment of Captain Keppel's kindness to myself and to everybody captured in the Mercury. Captain Pickles' conduct while he had command of that vessel was perfectly satisfactory to me.
"I have the honour to be, &c.,
(The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution. By Jared Sparks. Vol. 2, page 461)

You will see, Sir, that this letter contains no statement whatever that the Mercury was a Dutch packet; and them is a note appended to the early part of the letter:- "This letter (i.e., of the 23d ult.), is missing, nor does it appear from the correspondence at what time or from what place Mr. Laurens sailed." Indeed, the names of the ship and its captain - viz., "Mercury" and "Pickles," sufficiently indicate the true state of the facts.

The truth is, the Mercury was not a Dutch neutral packet, but an American belligerent (or, as we should have said, rebellious) packet. But, if this be so, what becomes of Mr. Sumner's notable precedent? I proceed to give you my authorities. The first I shall cite is an American work, published at Cambridge, United States, with which Mr. Sumner might be supposed to be acquainted. It is entitled Annals of America, by Abiel Holmes, D.D., Minister of the First Church of Cambridge, and Corresponding Secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. 2, p. 310:-
"The Mercury, a Congress packet, was captured on the 3d of September by the Vestal frigate off the banks of New-oundland. Mr. Henry Laurens, late President of the Congress, having been appointed Minister from the United States to the States-General of Holland, was on board the packet on his passage to the Hague. He was taken to England, where he was examined by the Privy Council and committed, close prisoner, to the Tower on an accusation of high treason. His papers, which had been thrown overboard, but recovered and deciphered, were found to contain a sketch of a treaty of amity and commerce between the Republic of Holland and the United States of America."

The following quotations are from English works the authority of which will not be disputed:-
"On the 3d of September the Mercury, a Congress packet, was taken by the Vestal frigate off the banks of Newfoundland. On board this packet was Mr. Laurens, late President of the Congress, charged with a commission to Holland."- Belsham's History of Great Britain, vol. 7, p. 53.
"The Vestal frigate, commanded by Captain Keppel, took, near the banks of Newfoundland, a Congress packet. The papers were thrown overboard, but by the intrepidity of an English sailor recovered, with little damage."- Adolphus's History of England, vol. 3, p. 221.
This is the book which George III (a pretty good authority on such a point) declared to be the most accurate and authentic record of the events of his reign.

The last authority I shall cite is Lord Mahon's History of England, vol. vii., p. 118:-
"It so chanced that early in September the Vestal frigate, commanded by Captain Keppel, and cruising on the banks of Newfoundland, took one of the American packets. Among the passengers was Mr. Henry Laurens, lately President of Congress, and then bound on a diplomatic mission to the Hague."
See also Massey's History of England, vol. iii., p. 30.
England went to war with Holland in 1781 on the express ground of the hostile conduct of that country as revealed in these despatches so captured. In the counter declaration issued by the States-General, which will be found in the Annual Register for 1781, p. 292, there are many complaints of breaches of neutrality on the part of England, but I can find no reclamation whatever against the seizure of Mr. Laurens, and, no doubt, for this plain and simple reason - that his seizure on board an American packet was no violation of Dutch neutrality. Vide also Hansard, vol. xxi., p. 960.

Now, this being the true state of the facts, is it not a great deal too bad that a man in Mr. Sumner's position should solemnly state that "this case shows the practice of England in regard to belligerent Ambassadors and the neutral packets which carry them? If the San Jacinto had taken Messrs. Slidell and Mason out of the Charleston packet when she was running the blockade, under the Confederate flag, the cases would have been parallel. So far the precedent of Mr. Laurens carries the argument, but not a step further.

Poor indeed is the prospect of a prudent and reasonable conduct on the part of the people or the Government of the North American States, if these are the counsels which they receive from those whom they deem their wisest men. Blind leaders of the blind, they shall both fall into the ditch. It is not we in England, but it is the merchants of Boston and the people of America who have the most reason to complain of such fatal inaccuracy and such culpable ignorance on the part of those to whom they look for advice and guidance.

I am, Sir, &c,
Temple, Dec 4
Th 5 December 1861


General Scott denies that it was in direct obedience to instructions from the Government at Washington that Commodore Wilkes perpetrated the outrage upon our flag. So far, so well, General Scott, however, has only denied what no one ever believed. Our Special Correspondent at Washington had, by anticipation, fortified us against giving credence to any such fabrication. He had already told us that the act of the captain of the San Jacinto was his own, and that he had undertaken this enterprise as a means of distinguishing himself. It is not, however, reassuring to find that General Scott, like his countrymen, is rather inclined to disavow the conception of this act than to repudiate it now that it has been done. He wishes to look upon it as a very small affair, and he does not seem to be able to see that the question of what is "contraband of war" cannot be as lawfully determined by a naval officer at sea as by an International Prize Court. He thinks that, after a public insult has been offered by the officer of one country to the flag of another, the first thing to follow is, not a complete restitution, but an argument between the Ministers of the two countries whether what has been done in violence might or might not have been legally effected in a peaceful manner. General Scott grievously mistakes the feeling of this country if he believes that good relations between America and England are to be preserved by any such suggestions as these. We have sent to Washington, not to open a controversy, but to demand a restitution. When that has been done we shall be happy to discuss the other questions at issue at any length the Americans may please.

At present, however, the only question open for discussion is the right of an officer of a belligerent Power to take by force and carry away the passengers and cargo of a neutral ship. We must do the Americans the justice to say that they have seen this difficulty and have made some clumsy attempts to meet it. Of course, it cannot be argued upon principle. The consequences of such a rule would be universal piracy. It is attempted, therefore, by some writers, and even by some who ought to know better and who do know better, to justify what has been done by Commodore Wilkes -for we cautiously abstain from treating this as an act of the Federal States until they have formally adopted it - by showing that similar things have been done before. One gentleman at Boston, who is, we presume, a near relative of Senator Sumner, and who is said to write under his inspiration, quotes what he calls a case in point, where, as he says, an envoy from the insurgents in America to Holland was captured on board a Dutch, ship, and was committed to the Tower as a traitor. Mr. George Sumner is entirely mistaken as to the one important fact in his case, for the ship on board which Mr. Laurens was captured was not Dutch, but American; but he is equally mistaken if he thinks that, even were his case parallel to that of the Trent in all its circumstances, it would be allowed by us, or by France, or by Russia, or by Spain, or by any civilized maritime nation, to have any bearing upon the question as to what is the Law of Nations at the present day. A hundred wrongs will not make a right. The pages of history, as far back as history can be read, are speckled with deeds of violence and crime, but these acts are not cited by moralists as proofs that such deeds now constitute virtues.

If the Cabinet of Washington propose to contend that we must in the year 1861 submit to endure at the hands of their cruisers every indignity which our ancestors have ever at any time inflicted upon a neutral flag, then we understand what will be the issue between us. If they do not propose to go this length, these resuscitations of long-buried circumstances are irrelevant, and are in themselves a confession of weakness. There is nothing which could not be proved by such precedents as these. In the year 1804 the then Government of France sent a detachment with artillery across the frontier of a neutral State, and there seized a refugee, brought him to France, tried him by a Court-martial, and shot him. This is a precedent which the world is never likely to forget, for the name of the victim was the Duc D'Enghien. The French, however, would be a little surprised if the Americans were to think themselves justified by this precedent in landing near Havre and carrying off some captain of a Confederate craft. So, at a date so late as June, 1853, an American captain, in the harbour of Smyrna, undertook to demand possession of a Hungarian refugee whom the commander of the Austrian ship of war Ussaro had kidnapped from the shore. The American cleared for action, and proposed to fight the Austrian in the harbour for the possession of a person who had no more claim on America than on England. The Americans, however, would scarcely hold this precedent to justify the captain of an English frigate in seizing in the streets of New York an English subject accused of treason against the Government of England, nor would they be satisfied to see substantial justice done against the English frigate by a French ship of war which should open its ports and fire a broadside into her in New York harbour. Again, the Federal Americans only the other day seized upon some travellers from California, on the ground of their being suspected of "Southern proclivities," and carried them as prisoners through the neutral territory of New Granada, laughing to scorn the protests of the neutral State and the opposition of the small force which that State was able to produce. Will the Cabinet of Washington be willing that we should on the first occasion appeal to this precedent as a rule of International Law? Will Napoleon III, or the Emperor of Austria be justified in seizing a French or Austrian refugee in, let us say, Canada, and bringing him through the Federal States down to New York for embarkation? We can give the Americans plenty more of these precedents if they are desirous of them, and we doubt not that they can produce a considerable number against us. We are not more immaculate than other people. When we were at once strong and passionate we sometimes did unjustifiable things. Having done them, we generally fought our way out of the difficulty, but we never claimed to make precedents of them, nor were other nations ever willing to accept them as such.

Nothing but wilful ignorance or presumption could pretend to draw a justification from a precedent of wrong. International Law rests, indeed, upon precedents, but it deduces its rules from precedents of acts done with the general concurrence of all nations. "Just consequences drawn from natural principles," says Grotius, "discover to us the law of nature; universal consent discovers to us the law of nations." The modern deeds of violence have almost invariably been committed upon weak nations, and have met only with the general disapprobation of mankind. The Americans safely violated the territorial rights of Turkey, or of the petty State of New Granada, and there were no means of testing by war what the opinion of other nations was. We, however, pressed our extreme rights against the powerful as well as the weak, and the very acts which the Boston jurists would adopt as precedents were those which armed all the North against us, and set us fighting with great maritime leagues. International Law, like Municipal Law, changes with the necessities of society, and both General Scott and his friends at home must be prepared to accept as International Law not what we or others have done in old times, but what we should be permitted ourselves to do in the present day
Fr 6 December 1861


In any great crisis we are always anxious to hear Mr. Bright [John Bright, 1811-1889, radical politician, and one of the greatest orators of the age]. His speech is waited for as a necessary preliminary to action. If insult has been done to us as a nation, if our commercial interests require a definite course of policy, and if the country is unanimous and we have all thoroughly made up our minds, we then Instinctively pause, and wait for the speech of John Bright. They do the same thing at Rome when they have resolved to canonize a saint. There is a Devil's Advocate, whose duty it is to pour cold water upon the general enthusiasm, and to show that the proposed saint, instead of being better, was rather worse than other people. It is a very useful institution, and therefore we have been always foremost in supporting that great analogous British institution, John Bright. The Irishman of tender conscience before he went to confession used to beat his wife, in order that, in her wrath, she might remind him of all his sins. We have no necessity for any such cruelty towards our political shrew, for without any especial provocation he is always ready to recapitulate, at the shortest possible notice, all that can be said against England and in favour of her enemies. Something has been wanting hitherto in the discussions as to America. The rights of the question seemed to be all one way. The statements on the other side all turned out to be forged history and the arguments false reasoning. Yet we were not quite satisfied. Every one waited for John Bright's speech. From somewhere or other it was sure to come, and until it had been delivered it was not safe to predicate that all that could possibly be alleged against this country had been said.

This event has at length come off. Mr. Bright has done his accustomed office at Rochdale. We are sorry to find that he was constrained to be so careful in his choice. Speaking upon so vast a question as that of peace or war with one of the Powers of North America, it might be expected that he would have chosen some conspicuous arena. Manchester, which made him a great public character; Birmingham, which sends him to Parliament; or London, which might afford an audience where wealth and intelligence would have mingled, might either of them have been some test of the general mind. Rochdale, however, is a mere nest of furnaces, and has no communion of sentiment with the country around, nor the least possible influence over the public opinion of the country generally. Perhaps it is not here a matter of much importance where Mr. Bright speaks, but, as he speaks less for England than for the foreign newspapers, it is as well our neighbours should know that the sentiments which Mr. Bright wishes to disseminate just now are not those which he thinks it convenient to speak either in his own borough or in any of the great cities of the kingdom. It might sometimes appear that he fancied while speaking he was delivering his speech, as he said, "in the city of Boston or the city of New York." But he has delivered himself of that which we wished to hear; and now, having heard the Devil's Advocate, we can rest in comfortable security that there is nothing untold which can be said against us and our country. By far the larger portion of Mr. Bright's speech is made up of an elaborate defence of the enterprise of the Northern States to conquer and subdue the Southern States. With this we submit that we, as mere neutrals, have nothing to do, and Mr. Bright, as a peace man, has still less to do. An apology for the wholesale manslaughter which now infests the frontier States and desolates vast provinces is creditable to the zeal of Mr. Bright rather than to his humanity. It is nothing, however, to us. If Mr. Bright chooses to ride in blood up to his saddle-girths to put down the rebellious South, and to cry aloud and spare not, we have nothing to say against it, except to remark that the old Pennsylvanian leaven of intolerance appears to be extant in high preservation, and that it seems a pity Mr. Bright's energy and unscrupulous determination do not rule in the White-house, instead of amusing a sixth-rate provincial town in England. We, however, are neutrals. It is for Mr. Bright to break neutrality,. and to advocate the taking a part with one of these belligerents. It is for Mr. Bright to taunt every one who will not do a dishonest thing with a want of kindliness and sympathy. We have with an almost judicial impartiality cautiously refrained from aiding with either faction, and when Mr. Bright affirms that "The Times in this country has done all that it could to poison the minds of the people of England and to irritate the minds of the people of America," we appeal at once to a public which is not very oblivious as to what appears in these columns, whether Mr. Bright has not publicly said that which is the opposite to the truth. If we have sinned on either side, it was in placing the worse side of our own case forwards while the public indignation was yet rising, and when the law authorities had not yet determined the questions of International Law. While the rights of the case were doubtful, we felt that it was our duty to moderate, and not to excite, the popular feeling. General Scott himself has found the best support for his own weak defence of what has happened in a quotation from our first observations upon the intelligence of the outrage to our flag. We have every wish to give a patient hearing to the Devil's Advocate, but we object to his concentrating those things whereof his client is the father entirely upon us. We may not, perhaps, be prepared to accept Mr. Bright's creed as to the Yankee Millennium, and to hound on the North to exterminate the South - as if the Anglo-Saxons of the South were not as much our kinsmen as the mixed races of the North; but we do not therefore accept the accusation that "the leading journal has not published one fair, honourable, or friendly article towards the States since Lincoln's accession to office." We have from the first advocated moderation, humanity, and peace. We have from the first deprecated a fratricidal war. We have shrunk from the sanguinary energy of the peace apostle of Rochdale, who has now learnt to translate the advocacy of murder and massacre by the words "fairness," "honour," and "friendship." We have been content to stand aloof, and simply to recommend both parties to try negotiation, arbitration, - anything rather than a sanguinary civil war.

It is much to be feared that the portion of Mr. Bright's speech which relates to the question in dispute between the Federal States and this country will be by many considered to partake too much of the character of buffoonery to be upon a level with the importance of the subject. The sneer at "what is called International Law" is surely rather worthy of a jester than a statesman, and the similitude of the United States to a man nearly dead drunk, and ready to fight anybody, is much more facetious than argumentative. But we have one grain of comfort. Mr. Bright has nothing to say in favour or in defence of the outage committed upon our flag. He promises that upon some future occasion he will produce instances of many similar outrages committed by us 50 or 60 years ago. We disposed of this style of argument yesterday, and shall not condescend to reiterate the obvious answer to-day. Mr. Bright, however, has not added a line to the little the Americans and their advocates have said in excuse of what they have done. This is very reassuring. If Mr. Bright, who was supported at Rochdale by the United States' Consul, and, no doubt, by all the aid which the United States can afford, was unable to do more than sneer at all International Law, and, at the same time, to give up the outrage upon the British flag as "impolitic and bad," we are tolerably sure that we have heard all that can be said against England, and that she is indisputably right in taking the straight course to vindicate her honour. Let America judge by the speech of her greatest admirer in England how little can be said for her outrage upon a friendly, although a neutral country. Let her know, also, that in this country, even this comparatively moderate speech of Mr. Bright is but a voice without an echo.
Fr 6 December 1861


The following is a copy of a letter addressed by General Scott, in reply to the inquiries of a friend:-

"My dear Sir, - You were right in doubting the declaration imputed to me, to wit - that the Cabinet at Washington had given orders to seize Messrs. Mason and Slidell, even under a neutral flag, for I was not even aware that the Government had had that point under consideration. At the time of my leaving Now York it was not known that the San Jacinto had returned to the American seas; and it was generally supposed those persons had escaped to Cuba for the purpose of re-embarking in the Nashville, in pursuit of which vessel the James Adger and other cruisers had been despatched.

"I think I can satisfy you in a few words that you have no serious occasion to feel concerned about our relations with England, if, as her rulers profess, she has no disposition to encourage the dissensions in America.

"In the first place, it is almost superfluous to say to you that every instinct of prudence as well as of good neighbourhood prompts our Government to regard no honourable sacrifice too great for the preservation of the friendship of Great Britain. This must be obvious to all the world. At no period of our history has her friendship been of more importance to our people, at no period has our Government been in a condition to make greater concessions to preserve it. The two nations are united by interests and sympathies - commercial, social, political, and religious - almost as the two arms to one body, and no one is so ignorant as not to know that what harms one must harm the other in a corresponding degree.

"I am persuaded that the British Government can entertain no doubt upon this point, but if it does I feel that I may take it upon myself to say that the President of the United States, when made aware of its existence, will lose no opportunity of dispelling it.

"Nor is there anything, I venture to affirm, in the seizure of these rebel emissaries which ought to receive an unfriendly construction from England. Her statesmen will not question the legal right of an American vessel of war to search any commercial vessel justly suspected of transporting contraband of war; that right has never been surrendered by England; it was even guaranteed to her by the Treaty of Paris; and British guns frowning down upon nearly every strait and inland sea upon the globe is conclusive evidence that she regards this right as one, the efficacy of which may be not yet entirely exhausted. Of course there is much that is irritating and vexatious in the exercise of this right under the most favourable circumstances, and it is to be hoped the day is not far distant when the maritime States of the world will agree in placing neutral commerce beyond the reach of such vexations. The United States' Government has been striving to this end for more than 50 years; to this end early in the present century, and in its infancy as a nation, it embarked in a war with the greatest naval Power in the world, and it is even now a persistent suitor at every maritime Court in Europe for a more liberal recognition of the rights of neutrals than any of the other great maritime nations have yet been disposed to make. But, till those rights are secured by proper international guarantees upon a comprehensive and enduring basis, of course England cannot complain of an act for which in all its material bearings her own naval history affords such numerous precedents.

"Whether the captives from the Trent were contraband of war or not is a question which the two Governments can have no serious difficulty in agreeing upon. If Mr. Seward cannot satisfy Earl Russell that they were, I have no doubt Earl Russell will be able to satisfy Mr. Seward that they were not. If they were, as all authorities concur in admitting, agents of the rebellion, it will be difficult to satisfy impartial minds that they were any less contraband than a file of rebel soldiers, or a battery of hostile cannon.

"But even should there be a difference of opinion upon this point, it is very clear that our Government had sufficient grounds for presuming itself in the right to escape the suspicion of having wantonly violated the relations of amity which the two countries profess a desire to preserve and cultivate.

"The pretence that we ought to have taken the Trent into port, and had her condemned by a Prize Court, in order to justify our seizure of four of her passengers, furnishes a very narrow basis on which to fix a serious controversy between two great nations. Stated in other words, our offence would have been less if it had been greater. The wrong done to the British flag would have been mitigated if, instead of seizing the four rebels, we had seized the ship, detained all her passengers for weeks, and confiscated her cargo. I am not surprised that Captain Wilkes took a different view of his duty, and of what was due to the friendly relations which subsisted between the two Governments. The renowned common sense of the English people, I believe, will approve of his effort to make the discharge of a very unpleasant duty as little vexatious as possible to all innocent parties.

"If under these circumstances England should deem it her duty in the interest of civilization to insist upon the restoration of the men taken from under the protection of her flag, it will be from a conviction, without doubt, that the law of nations in regard to the rights of neutrals, which she has taken the leading part in establishing, requires revision, and with a suitable disposition on her part to establish those rights upon a just, humane, and philosophic basis. Indeed, I am happy to see an intimation in one of the leading metropolitan journals which goes far to justify this inference. Referring to the decisions of the English Admiralty Courts now quoted in defence of the seizure of the American rebels on board the Trent, the London Times of the 28th of November says,-
"'So far as the authorities go, the testimony of international law writers is all one way, that a belligerent war cruiser has the right to stop and visit and search any merchant ship upon the high seas.... But it must be remembered that these decisions were given under circumstances very different from those which now occur. Steamers in those days did not exist, and mail vessels carrying letters wherein all the nations of the world have immediate interest were unknown. We were fighting for existence, and we did in those days what we should neither do nor allow others to do, nor expect ourselves to be allowed to do, in these days.'

"If England, as we are here encouraged to hope, is disposed to do her part in stripping war of half its horrors by accepting the policy long and persistently urged upon her by our Government, and commended by every principle of justice and humanity, she will find no ground, in the visit to the Trent, for controversy with our Government. I am sure the President and people of the United States would be but too happy to let these men go free, unnatural and unpardonable as their offences have been, if by it they could emancipate the commerce of the world. Greatly as it would be to our disadvantage at this present crisis to surrender any of those maritime privileges of belligerents which are sanctioned by the laws of nations, I feel that I take no responsibility in saying that the United States will be faithful to her traditional policy upon this subject, and to the spirit of her political institutions.

"On the other hand, should England be unprepared to make a corresponding sacrifice; should she feel that she could not yet afford to surrender the advantages which the present maritime code gives to a dominant naval Power, of course she will not put herself in a false position by asking us to do it. In either case, therefore, I do not see how the friendly relations of the two Governments are in any immediate danger of being disturbed.

"That the over-prompt recognition as belligerents of a body of men, however large, so long as they constituted a manifest minority of the nation, wounded the feelings of my countrymen deeply, I will not affect to deny, nor that that act, with some of its logical consequences, which have already occurred, has planted in the breasts of many the suspicion that their kindred in England wish them evil rather than good; but the statesmen to whom the political interest of these two great people are confided act upon higher responsibilities and with better lights, and you may rest assured that an event so mutually disastrous as a war between England and America cannot occur without some other and graver provocation than has yet been given by either nation.

"Hotel Westminster, Paris, Dec. 2."
Fr 6 December 1861The Tyne Naval Reserve. - Shields, Wednesday. - This forenoon the letter from the Lords of the Admiralty to Captain Palmer, of Her Majesty's ship Castor, in acknowledgment of the address sent from the Tyne by the Royal Naval Reserve Force, tendering their services to the Queen in case of war with the Northern States of America, was read from the quarterdeck of that vessel to the Naval Reserve men, and was received with immense enthusiasm. The letter read was the same as that published in The Times on Tuesday. After the reply was read to the men they determined to have a demonstration in the seaport of Shields that afternoon, and at half-past 1 o'clock they mustered in strong force upon the New Quay, North Shields, as fine a body of young fellows as it was possible to clap eyes upon. The officers of the 1st Northumberland Artillery kindly put their fine band at the service of the men, who had mustered an immense number of union jacks, ensigns of St. George, &c, and when the procession was formed it had quite a warlike appearance. About 2 o'clock the band struck up "Hearts of Oak," and the men proceeded to march through the principal streets of North and South Shields. They were met everywhere with the greatest enthusiasm by the seafaring population, especially in the neighbourhood of the quays and shipping. Above 1,000 seamen are now enrolled; in the books of the North Shields Shipping-office as Naval Reserve men.
Fr 6 December 1861The Export of Military Stores. - Birmingham, Dec. 5. - The Queen's Proclamation prohibiting the export of arms, ammunition, percussion caps, &c., has produced a sort of convulsion here. As to the gun trade, there are large orders on hand, in which all the principal makers are participating. There are a great many guns ready for shipment, and many more approaching completion. The manufacture will at once be stopped, and a heavy loss will accrue to the trade, particularly to a large number of workmen who have become little masters during the late excitement created by the American demand. Persons so situated will be left with a considerable quantity of unfinished work on hand, upon which extravagant wages have been paid. The legitimate military arm trade will share in the loss, but those engaged in it will now be in a good position to proceed with their contracts for our own Government, these having been hitherto interrupted, in spite of all the efforts made to prevent it. This has not been, however, to any serious extent, inasmuch as the contractors have been guarded in the engagements they have entered into with the purchasers of arms for America, and no very recent contracts have been made for that charter. There have been several agents here from America, all eager purchasers of guns, but none very recently.
Sa 7 December 1861



Mr. Danby Seymour, MP. [Henry Danby Seymour, 1820-1877, Liberal MP for Poole, Dorset], in retuning thanks for his health at the annual dinner of the Sherborne Agricultural Society, of which he was chairman, referred at some length to the question of our cotton supply and the present difficulty with America. After alluding to the prosperous season which the agriculturists had had this year in comparison with the last, he observed that they could not say the same of the manufacturing districts, which were now suffering from the greatest evil that could befall them - namely, a famine or cotton. It had always been held over our heads that this loss of the cotton supply was the means by which unscrupulous politicians on the other side of the Atlantic would humble England by preventing her acting according to her free, unbiased judgment. But, as they found that many evils were greater in anticipation than in reality, so it was in this case. It was true that there was suffering in the manufacturing districts, but, at the same time, there was much good springing out of it. In the first place, it was very gratifying to see such excellent relations subsisting between the employers and the workmen - to see the merchants and possessors of mills at once and in proper time working half-time, and declaring their intention that even in case they could not work at a profit, they would still support their workmen and keep them out of the poor-house. It was pleasant to see this enlightened view taken of things, and this agreement between two classes of the population, the employers and the employed. (Hear, hear.) Then, again, good is always springing out of evil, and so this famine of cotton from the United States has made us look to other regions. We were before dependent entirely upon America, and it was anticipated that the loss of this supply would throw some thousands of people out of employment, and leave them to starve. Now, what do we see? Cotton pouring in from other parts of the world; and the result of this interruption of the supply from America would be that we should no longer be dependent upon that country as the sole source of supply. The cotton famine had produced what no representations could from those who managed the affairs of the soil of India, which was now as free to the settler as the soil of England; but nothing would have extorted this but the failure of the cotton supply. They would scarcely believe that in some parts of India the cultivator had to pay 50 per cent, of the produce of the soil to the Government, and it was easy to presume that very little capital would be employed under such circumstances. That ancient tax was extorted with great severity, so that the cultivation of the soil was kept in a state of depression, and cotton could not be produced, nor scarcely anything else. But now within the last month or so this great impediment had been removed, and India was freely open to Englishmen. (Hear, hear.) That was one result of the failure of cotton from America. Then it was known that cotton grew as a weed in Africa. He had taken a great deal of interest in the suppression of that horrible traffic in slaves. He had been one of the council of a society recently formed for the suppression of that traffic - called the African Aid Society - to send the free negro back to Africa, in order to civilise his country. What would be the effect of this cotton famine? The inhabitants of Africa had been carried away to America, to Cuba, to cultivate sugar and cotton; whereas cotton was growing as a weed in their own country, and the great effect would be to promote the growth of that plant in its native soil. (Hear.) There was also a topic to which he must advert on the present occasion, and which was now stirring the hearts of all England to the lowest depth; he alluded to the affair of the Trent. Now, what was the position in which we were placed? A vessel sailing under the English flag had been stopped on the open sea. The opinion of the law officers of the Crown had been taken on the subject, and they had declared it to be contrary to international law. The consequence was that we felt ourselves touched on a vital point - -vital to us as a high-spirited, military nation - vital to us as a great commercial nation. Our very existence depended upon due respect being paid to the ships which carried our commerce across the ocean. We did not wish to quarrel with the United States. Our Government had done everything in its power to remain neutral; and the wish of every Englishman had been that we should remain neutral in that horrid civil war which was being waged on the other side of the Atlantic. (Hear.) If we were to engage in that war, it would be almost a civil war to us, and as brother was now raising his hand against brother, so it would then be with us. There was not a portion of England that had not sent emigrants to America within the last 20 or 30 years, and the whole nation had sprung from our loins within three generations. It could not be our interest, for we were their creditors to the extent of millions - it could not be our wish to quarrel with a people who had sprung from ourselves. But, at the same time, what, in a case of this sort, were we to do? One thing was necessary, and that had been done. Her Majesty's Government had sent out a representation of the facts of the case, as it was understood, in a temperate despatch, to inform the authorities at Washington what our opinion of the law was, and to ask from them the only reparation that could be made, which was to place us in the same position as if this had never happened, and to express their regret at what had occurred. That was a proper and sensible mode of proceeding. (Hear, hear.) Nothing could be more creditable to this country than the manner in which this terrible news had been received. Although we had been deeply indignant, still, in conversation man with man, a desire had been freely expressed to abide by what was right. They said let the authorities be consulted, and if we had suffered wrong, we will look for reparation; but we will abide strictly by the law of the case. It was this respect for law which distinguished civilized from uncivilized nations. It was this respect for law which had characterized England from the first period of her existence as a nation, and which had been in a great degree the secret of her prosperity. Well, if this respect for the law is felt on the other side of the Atlantic, he did not anticipate any other than a pacific solution of this unfortunate occurrence. (Hear, hear.) Our despatch had gone forth, stating that we considered ourselves wronged according to international law, and that we demanded reparation; but when an answer came to that despatch then a difficult question might be brought before the nation. If the law officers of America state that they are of the same opinion as ours - that what has been done is contrary to the law of nations, then, of course, they must give reparation, and the affair would be settled. But supposing they gave a contrary opinion, there would then be a most important question for consideration. Two courses would then be open to us. One was instantly to send an army to demand satisfaction. The other was to take the opinion of some dispassionate party, to state between us what the law of the case is. He would not prescribe the course, but he hoped no means would be spared to keep peace. We were principals in this affair, and they were principals. We did not wish to shed blood - we did not wish to commit carnage, as it would be upon blood relations, or to cause those rankling feelings which must survive the hot hour of battle for many generations. We wished to avoid that, if possible, and if the position arose to which he had alluded, knowing that we possessed a vast power, we should, at the same time, show forbearance equal to that power; we should take the opinion of some dispassionate jurist, or some neutral State, before proceeding to the ultimate and last resource. Living in this 19th century, and in these civilized times, he said, it was our duty, as far as we possibly could, to avoid entering into a quarrel, although we knew how well we should behave when once in. While it was most improbable the opinion of any dispassionate person would be against us - while it was almost certain we had suffered wrong at the hands of America, and if full and instant reparation be not given for the injuries we have received, still we should be adding to our strength, and adding to our reputation for forbearance, if we took the opinion of some independent third party. Then our position would be stronger; and if America refused to give reparation after that, we should instantly resort to force, and never lay down our arms as long as we had power to wield them in a just cause. And he was certain they would be considered as out of the pale of civilization, and as a lawless mob instead of a nation, in declining to listen to a dispassionate arbiter. (Applause.)


At a banquet in connexion with the liberal party, held in the Exchange Rooms, Nottingham, on Thursday, Mr. Paget [Charles Paget, 1799-1873,), Liberal MP for Nottingham], after a few preliminary remarks, said he would allude to a subject which was uppermost in the mind of every Englishman - the state of our relations with North America. (Hear.) Let them look at the position of the two contending Powers in that country, and what were the great reasons of their difference. They arose from two circumstances - slavery and protected industry. Both of these they derived from us, and, therefore, we ought to look upon their mistakes and their deviations from a right course rather in sorrow than in anger. They should not be surprised that the Federal Republic should not willingly give up their idea of becoming the most magnificent empire the world ever saw without soma feelings of regret, and perhaps without some struggles; and when they recollected that it was their first express determination that the area of slavery, which had brought about the secession of the South, should not be further extended, it must be acknowledged that there was something decidedly good in their view of the question. "You must understand," said Mr. Paget, "that I mention all these things in order that we should approach the consideration of the question at issue with calm and dispassionate minds, without entertaining any irritation towards them. An act has been perpetrated by an officer of an armed ship of the Federal Republic which is an outrage against the law of nations and an insult to the British flag. (Cheers.) That insult must either be repaired or it must be resented. (Loud cheers.) I hope that the representations that are being made by Her Majesty's Government, under the sense of a full and deep responsibility, will have a proper effect, for upon the result of their negotiations depends the lives of thousands of our fellow-creatures. I do hope that the result of their remonstrances and representations will be met on the part of the Government of North America with such apologies as will enable us to continue with them on those friendly relations which we have hitherto done. But if those representations should fail - if reparation is refused - then we must incur and inflict all the horrors of war, which, terrible as they may be, are a thousand times better for us and the whole civilized race than to submit to the flag of England being insulted unrepaired (loud cheers), or to be trampled down by violence unredressed." (Cheers.)
Ma 9 December 1861


The newspapers just received from the Federal States manifest a wholesome change in the public opinion of New York. The mercantile classes had had time to reconsider the probable consequences of an insult offered to Old England, and were beginning to "discount" the intelligence of the return mail. There has been a sudden hush, a rapid subsidence in the bluster of some previous weeks. It is no longer thought a brave thing to boast that "What Great Britain may say to this we do not know, and do not greatly care." All the organs which represent any interest that has the least solidity have evidently been let into the secret that there is nothing to be said for Captain Wilkes and his piratical frigate. They are now talking delicately of the affair of the Trent, and even preparing the way for the restitution of the captive Commissioners. We have only noted one exception among the files we have received. The New York Herald still holds that England is only amenable to menace, and sneers at its contemporaries as being "down upon their marrowbones before the British Lion". The Herald represents the scum of a great city, which city is but a member of a great democracy. The New York Times, the Tribune, the World, and other papers represent the doubts and terrors of reasonable men. It is very difficult to distil the real essence of the popular mind in America from such an unequally mingled mass, or to estimate the force which the respective classes will exercise upon the action of the Government; but the bankers of New York and Boston must have some influence upon the Cabinet of Washington, and if that influence should preponderate there will be no immediate war. On the other hand, the foreign policy of America is in the hands of a reckless adventurer, and this man can evoke at will all the wild passions of a sovereign mob.

The terror of the commercial men of the Federal States at the prospect of a war with England is now manifest enough. The Tribune has discovered that the delivering up of Messrs. Slidell and Mason would be "an immense triumph to Mr. Lincoln", and we most unfeignedly hope that Mr. Lincoln may see the fact in that light. Another paper has discovered a much more indubitable fact, -that, if Captain Wilkes has committed a wrong, there can be no loss of honour to the Federal States in a suitable restitution and apology. We find ourselves again reminded, after a long interval, of our kinship, of the evils of a war between the two countries, and of the ties which ought to bind us - facts and sentiments which we, at least, have never forgotten, but which are seldom remembered on the other side of the Atlantic at moments when they would naturally produce kindly deeds to us. England is adjured by some not "to take advantage of a quibble," and others are intent upon persuading us that really Slidell and Mason are not worth a war. There is such blank terror in some of these broadsheets which have been breathing flames for some years past, that if we could rely on the power of those who inspire them we should banish all apprehensions as to the immediate future, and should hold it as certain that we should be spared the necessity of taking part in this Transatlantic contest. "If Great Britain can show good reason for claiming them, they will be given up'', says one of the most reasonable, although not we fear, the most influential of the New York papers. Nothing can be more moderate. We are sorry to see that it is thought necessary to accompany these pacific declarations with a reservation that the imminent quarrel with England is only put off " till after we have settled our little account with Jefferson Davis and Co." The mingled terror and confusion of the moneyed mind of New York may be judged of by the statement in the New York Times, that "Many persons talk and write as if the instant she hears of it England would send a fleet of war steamers to bombard our cities and sweep our commerce from the face of the ocean." But we hope that the Government of the Federal States will not trust to the assurance of the New York Times that the whole matter must ensue in a "protracted negotiation".

We are most anxious to warn the people of the Atlantic cities against a perilous error which, if persisted in, will certainly drift them and us into a war. They already appear to be recovering from two grievous misapprehensions. The first was the conviction that because we have, half grumbling and half in contempt, allowed them for some years to tread rudely upon our corns and to elbow us discourteously, we should therefore submit to have our nose tweaked in solemn form by Mr. Seward or his underlings. The second is that Mr. Everett and Mr. George Sumner could by forged facts and falsified history persuade us that an audacious insult upon our flag is an act in accordance with precedent and with International Law. The New York press have got over these hallucinations. They are convinced now that Mr. Seward's threat to conquer Canada and his ostentatious preparations for a war with England have not tended to make us at all more anxious to take the part of the North against the South. They are now also evidently convinced that Messrs. Everett and Sumner were, when talking about the law of the matter, displaying either consummate ignorance or silly and transparent knavery. The American press has, we infer, been informed that there is no question capable of argument about the rights of this matter; that "contraband" can only be declared to be contraband by a Prize Court; and that neither in form nor in substance, in law nor in equity, in word nor in spirit, is there any view of International Law by which this outrage upon us can be defended or extenuated. They have opened their eyes upon these two points. We desire to warn them against a third. They seem to think that, although we cannot be directly refused reparation and apology for this wrong, we may be easily outwitted by fair words and a procrastinating policy, which they are pleased to call "protracted negotiation". They are quite welcome to say what they please about putting off their war with England to a more convenient opportunity. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. They will act wisely, however, if they put off their "protracted negotiation" to the same convenient opportunity. If we are not content to stand in the companionship of nations with a spot upon our honour, neither are we content to be befooled and duped by such clumsy contrivances as can be invented by Mr. Seward. We hope it will be remembered by the Government at Washington that the four captives at Boston have been forcibly taken away from what we consider to have been a sacred asylum; that every moment of their captivity is an outrage to that sanctuary in defence of which we have always been ready to meet the world in arms; and that until these men stand once more under the flag which is pledged to protect them there can be no negotiation, either protracted or accelerated.
Ma 9 December 1861


The Royal Mail steamship Niagara, from. Boston, on the 27th and Halifax on the 29th ult., arrived here at 7 30 a.m. to-day. She brings 135 passengers, $1,100 for England, and $3,600 for Havre. She landed 112 sacks of mails and 3 passengers, and proceeded at 8 a.m.; all well.

NEW YORK, Nov. 26, Evening.
(Per. Niagara, via Boston and Queenstown.)

Commander Wilkes, at a public reception in Boston, said,-
"I depended upon my own judgment in capturing Messrs. Mason and Slidell. I did my duty to the Union, and I am prepared to do so again."
It is reported that no despatches were found in the baggage of Messrs. Mason and Slidell.

The New York Herald says,-
"When the real facts of the case are known, and the authorities and precedents investigated, the capture of the Confederate Commissioners will have the best effect in England, as it will show that we are not to be intimidated from prosecuting our just rights."
Tu 10 December 1861


(from our special correspondent.)


"It is so clear we are right in seizing Mason and Slidell that we will go on proving the point daily, insisting on there being no doubt about it, demonstrating that the justice and legality of the act require no demonstration. We will never cease in maintaining in the face of the world that two and two make four - or five, if we like." If need were for any new proof of the influence of passion in blinding the eye of reason it would be found in the extraordinary manner in which the American press, jurists, and speakers have treated the arrest of the "ambassadors" of the Confederate States on board the Royal Mail steamer Trent. But there are many people who in private hold very different language. The quiet little tongues of the Stock Exchange are hinting their doubts very unmistakeably, and I venture to assert that if the opinions of the judges of the land were sought privately they would pronounce, against "the bold and patriotic act of Commodore Wilkes". The best legal authorities in this city are against it. But with the moral cowardice which is the result of submission - habitual prostration to the force of a majority - men will neither publish nor write, nor speak openly what they are free to confess in the study or the conversation corner. There is a chorus all over the land of "Quite right - Don't be afraid," and an immense amount of mutual patting on the back. People ask, "What does England care about Slidell and Mason?" and are astonished to be told in reply that she cares something about the law of nations and her national honour. If it were believed really that Great Britain would take any serious notice of the act there would be an immediate panic in the commercial and monetary world which would extend its effects to every class in the Union, from the President who invests his salary in the national loan down to the daily labourer. But there is a sustaining hope that the Cabinet will not do anything, that at the very outside there will be a remonstrance and a lengthy correspondence, which will end as many other matters of protocol and despatch have ended before. As I write there is a rumour that Messrs. Slidell and Mason are to be surrendered. If it be true this Government is broken up. There is so much violence of spirit among the lower orders of the people, and they are so ignorant of everything except their own politics and passions, so saturated with pride and vanity that any honourable concession, even in this hour of extremity, would prove fatal to its authors. It would certainly render them so unpopular that it would damage them in the conduct of this Civil War. Admitting the general diffusion of the arts of reading and writing among the people, there is a special ignorance of anything but American notions which is very astonishing. I may mention in proof of this that I have received several letters requesting me to appear in public for the aid of benevolent or literary societies, the writers of which were good enough either to elevate me to the peerage, or were labouring under the delusion that the noble earl at the head of the Foreign office was seeking relaxation from the cares of his department by acting as your special correspondent in the United States. These letters were written by secretaries of associations or by people who were literary enough to keep collections of autographs. Adulation, incessant flattery for party or personal objects have puffed up the mob with foul vapours till they are nigh bursting with intolerance, and have thinned away the skin of their balloon till it is pouring out gas all over the land. How is any honest, hardhanded Wisconsin lumberer, then, who is sitting with his loaded rifle at full cock on the stump of a tree, and reading his newspaper and smoking his tobacco in the discharge of the highest duties of a citizen and a sentinel, to know the truth when he is assured by his best possible instructor that the English aristocracy, having sent Mr. George Thompson over to the States to destroy the Union by tampering with the slaves, are now despatching enormous armies to Canada to seize upon Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, the prosperity of which are an insult to their system and an eyesore to the Queen, the Prince Consort, and the rest of the Royal Family? How is he to resist the appeals to his prejudices daily instilled into him when he is told that he is the finest fellow in the world; that he is the only freeman on the face of the earth; that the English hate and fear him; that Vattel, and Wheaton, and Ortolan show Wilkes was wrong because he did not seize and take the Trent into port for condemnation, and that he and a million and a-half of soldiers, the handsomest, tallest, stoutest, straightest, heaviest, bravest, best shooting, best marching, best-disciplined, and best-principled that are, have been, or ever will be - the cream of creation in arms - will be called in shortly to avenge innumerable insults and wipe out the systems which, emperors, kings, tyrants, and aristocrats have invented for the oppression of suffering humanity all over the rest of the globe? I would give a good deal for a view of that man's head. Why, it must be filled with heroes, "such faultless monsters as the world ne'er saw," choke-full of victories that never existed - teeming with "star-spangled banners" and great Union processions, barbecues and bunkum perorations, crowded with visions of demons like Jeff. Davis and Lord Lyons, and the Duchess of Sutherland, all wheeling round and dancing about to a great crash of music, and the strains of "Yankee-doodle," while muffled assassins move through the throng, wrapped in cloaks above which peep out the prongs of Britannia's trident, the kepi of him of the Tuileries, or the fan of the Lady of Spain, stiletto in hand, seeking for an opening to get a dig at the Goddess of Liberty, who is at that moment engaged in conversation with President Lincoln, Mr. Seward, and the editor of his particular journal. He has no chance of a cure - all access to medicine is shut out, and the Wisconsin man will fight to the death in support of his insanity - he will die before he will give up Mason and Slidell. It is very probable - if Mr. Jefferson Davis ever condescends to such a thing - that he sang and danced with delight when he heard of the capture of these gentlemen; it is not too much to suppose he sent them on their mission because they were in his way. Mr. Mason is a man of considerable belief in himself; he is a proud, well-bred, not unambitious gentleman, whose position gave him a right to expect high office, for which in some respects he was unfitted at home, while his manners, his accomplishments, and his knowledge of society, as well as his moderation of opinion in reference to the merits of other systems of government, were well suited for a foreign mission. Mr. Slidell, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in New Orleans, is a man of more tact, and is not inferior to his colleague in other respects. He far excels him in subtlety and depth, and is one of the most consummate masters of political manoeuvre in the States. He is what is called here a " wire-puller" - a man who unseen moves the puppets on the public stage as he lists - a man of iron will and strong passions - who loves the excitement of combinations, and who in his dungeon, or whatever else it may be, would conspire with the mice against the cat sooner than not conspire at all. It struck me that he was living sullenly apart from Montgomery, waiting to be called in when I saw him, and I have no doubt Mr. Davis selected him with alacrity for the post which he was so well adapted to fill. Originally a Northern man, he has thrown himself into the Southern cause, and staked his great fortune on the issue without hesitation, and with all the force of his intellect and character. But even he believed that England must break the blockade for cotton. Little did he think then how prominent his name would become in reference to the relations between his own country and Great Britain. It is not too much to say the North gloats over the capture of these two men, and would consider it an equivalent for Leesburg or Columbus. Their hauteur, skill, and resolution have made them many enemies, and personal antipathies of the strongest kind exist between them and some of those who now have them in their hands. The creation of a precedent founded on what appears to me to be an outrage on the comity of nations and on the privileges of neutrals is not more dangerous than submission to a wrong without redress or apology, in order to avoid a quarrel with a Power friendly as far as treaty goes, if not in sentiment.

The secret Secession organ of New York is playing the game of the Confederates by exciting, as far as it has any influence, the ignorant masses against England in reference to the Mason and Slidell arrest, and in shouting out for a war with her sooner than submit to the indignity of doing justice. The poor Jack Pudding, in his fear of detection, is holding on by the skirts of the Secretary of State, and his cry is, "Seward and I are quite agreed on this! Seward is my man, and I am Seward's man. Here we are together. His programme is this, - We ask no favours from England; we simply demand justice, and if she will not yield that, we will fight her as we did before. If she will not listen to words then let us try what virtue there is in cannon balls." It is a melancholy exhibition - degrading to the people who tolerate it and only offensive because the Americans do not publicly repudiate, as they do privately, such puling braggadocio. When Mr. Seward permits his name to be used in such a manner, and when the White House is the head-quarters of people who are supposed to exercise influence over the "organ" and the inmates of the House, there is colour for the supposition that these miserable insults are not distasteful to persons who ought to shrink at all events from the discreditable association of those who offer them.

It is most extraordinary that, in matters deeply affecting the object for which they are contending, the North will ignore studiously and completely the merits of the case in which so much is involved. One would think that Mr. Everett might pause before he cited the case of the Caroline or the arrest of Mr. Laurens as cases in point, and that writers in a respectable paper like the New York Times, by the very magnitude of the issue, would be restrained from engaging in the puerilities which form the staple of their articles on the arrest of Messrs. Slidell and Mason, notably in their publication of Friday (November 22). Their arguments go on the assumption that they are "at war'' with the Confederate States, and that England has been notified of the fact. It is notorious, on the contrary, that the Government of the United States has resisted and resented the idea that it is "at war", and has insisted that it is blockading its own ports, having abandoned an absurd pretence of levying duties outside which it was authorized by Congress to do. When did the Government of Washington declare war? Was not Great Britain menaced and affronted because she granted to the seceded States belligerent rights limited in degree?

"A neutral," says Wheaton, "is the common friend of both parties, and consequently is not at liberty to favour one party to the detriment of the other." If that be so, henceforth, according to the new practice of the United States' Government, we are bound to carry no more despatches to Mr. Adams [Charles Francis Adams, 1807-1886, son of President John Quincy Adams, United States ambasador in London], and to permit no messenger, envoy, ambassador, or despatch in the service of the United States to go in any of our ships to Europe, and, supposing the doctrine of the United States to be true, we ought to take that course. We have assumed a neutral character between the Northern States and the seceded States; to the latter we have conceded a position vested with belligerent rights. - "A neutral has nothing to do with the justice or injustice of the war." Granted that by the concession Great Britain gave an excuse for the exercise of the right of search which the Americans claim as a belligerent right, as long as they declare they are not at war, but are merely suppressing an internal commotion, they exercise it de leur tort in any case, but in no case can they be permitted to exercise it where the character of the ship is notorious, and where, in the nature of things, she cannot be the object of legitimate search or the subject of suspicion. Are the captains of our mail steamers to determine the political status of their passengers and act as judges of international law before they permit them to embark in their ships? To the captain of the Trent, Mr. Slidell and Mr. Mason were merely passengers entered on the list in the ordinary way, and even if he had read anything about them in the papers, at most he could know they were believed to be sent by an unrecognized Government for a political purpose to Europe, and he would have had no more right to stop them, and examine their papers and despatches, than he would have to subject Mr. Cassius Clay [Cassius Marcellus Clay, 1810-1903, nicknamed "The Lion of White Hall", an emancipationist from Madison County, Kentucky] or Mr. Thurlow Weed [1797-1882, New York newspaper publisher and Republican party politician] to a similar process. If he was bound by the Queen's proclamation of neutrality to object to the passage of the one, he was equally obliged to do so in case of the others, Imagine the masters of the Dover and Calais steamers interrogating Italian and Hungarian refugees during the Austrian war as to their politics and objects!

Sir W. Scott lays down expressly as a rule respecting contraband that it must be taken in delicto [in the act], in the actual prosecution of the voyage to an enemy's port. (Adm. Repts.," The Ionia," vol. 3, p, 168.) Under the circumstances, the search of the Trent for contraband could not be justified. Captain Wilkes knew the character of the ship, and was well aware he could not find contraband on board of her. Had she been sailing from Havannah full of arms and munitions of war for Southampton to be thence transferred to a vessel for America intended to run the blockade, she could not, nevertheless, be touched under any pretence whatever in accordance with the law of nations. No writer has ever laid it down of late days that an ambassador of an enemy can be seized on board a neutral ship which has sailed from one neutral port and is bound to another. If the Trent were employed specially to convey Messrs. Mason and Slidell and their despatches, there might be some show of justification for the seizure, but as it stands there is none whatever. De Hautefeuille indicates clearly that postal vessels are exempt from such action; they are so necessitate rei [from necessity]. The New York Times very poorly and weakly puts a case of an Ambassador of France going on board a neutral ship of a small State to form a hostile alliance against England in time of war, and asks if an English ship of war would not seize? If against law, and the seizure was made, doubtless the State so aggrieved would have grounds for making war and doing its best to obtain redress. But there is no parallel at all. The question the New York Times should put is this:- If England and France were at war, and the latter sent an Ambassador to embark at Stettin and go to Cronstadt in the Russian mail steamer, would England justify the conduct of a captain of one of her armed ships who fired at the Imperial mail steamer, brought her to, then by armed force dragged the Ambassador on board his ship as a prisoner? Would Russia tolerate such an act for one moment ? But the word "Ambassador" implies that he is the agent of a recognized Power. When and where have the Confederate States been recognized as a Power competent to open diplomatic relations by an Ambassador? Mr. Laurens was on board an American vessel -a vessel belonging to a rebellious enemy, resisting the sovereignty of Great Britain, which had not succeeded in establishing its independence. His case has nothing whatever to do with the arrest of Slidell and Mason. Another wiseacre, who writes to prove how the agents of the Persia respected the Queen's proclamation of neutrality by refusing to permit guns, &c, to be taken on board at Liverpool for the United States, forgets that the Persia was sailing from a neutral to the port of a belligerent. Guns were unmistakeable contraband of war; Mr. Slidell and Mr. Mason can only be made so by the introduction of some principle of law as yet unknown to civilized nations. They were not soldiers; if they were, it is not possible to maintain that they could have been seized, if they were sailing from a Spanish to an English port, even with an animus revertendi [intent to return], unless they had hired the vessel for their special conveyance. As bearers of despatches, men cannot be seized and imprisoned permanently on board neutral ships in which they are sailing as ordinary passengers. A neutral ship carrying contraband is liable to confiscation, but her crew are only confined till they have given evidence in the case.

It is the uniform law that when a capture has been effected within the limits of a neutral territory, i.e., within its seas, "the property must be restored." Sir William Scott's judgment on that point in the "Vrow Anna Catherina" has never been questioned. For all intents and purposes the property of Messrs. Mason and Slidell and they themselves were, when under the British flag, on neutral ground. "It is the right as well as the duty of the neutral State to restore it to its owners." Vattel declares that "in whatever does not relate to the war the neutral must not refuse to one of the parties, merely because he is at war with the other, what he grants to that other." But over and above all these points is the fact, before insisted on in my letters, of the special character of the ship itself. The principle involved in that fact is not only asserted by writers of authority, but was announced in the postal convention between England and the United States in 1848, in which it was expressly stipulated that, in case of war between the two countries, the mail packets between the two countries should be allowed to continue their service without molestation until six weeks' notice had been given by either Government of the intention to stop it, when they would be permitted to return specially protected to their ports. It never could have been foreseen that the United States would have claimed the right to board and arrest passengers in the Royal West India mail steamers on the high seas, or we should have had, no doubt, very explicit declarations on the point. The character of the vessel should have rendered all her passengers safe from molestation. If the flag has any sovereign right and protecting power at all, it is in the case of political refugees or offenders who have sought its shelter. Admitting all that can be said of them - even that they were "Ambassadors" - i. e., that the Confederate States of America are recognized by the United States of America as a separate State - there would have been a ground of grave remonstrance had they been seized on board a common merchant ship bound from Havannah for Southampton.

"For two centuries past," says Wheaton, "there has been a constant tendency to establish the principle that the neutrality of the ship should exempt the cargo, even if enemy's property, from capture and confiscation as prize of war." But this seizure would put the world back many a long year. There are certain things which a man cannot submit to with the most peace-loving disposition in the world, or if he does submit must bear the scorn of his fellows. No word of war has been breathed by England, while the air is full of the menace over here, in a capital shut up by hostile attitude probably till the return of fine weather next year! The journals, with some very few exceptions, are jubilant in their exultation over a new difficulty - some new source of strength to the Union. The sensitive capitalists of New York are assured that if the United States resolve to persist in the capture there is no danger of war; at all events, it will be long delayed by negotiation and the usual diplomatic formalities. There was no intention on the part of Captain Wilkes to insult the British flag, forsooth; he took his prisoners with only such a display of force as the case required - of what can the British Government complain? In time of war neutrals may be visited and searched by the vessels of either belligerent, for in their confusion the United States' papers have got into the habit of considering the Confederates as belligerents - of looking on them as we were unfortunate enough to say we thought they were some time ago. Such are the ideas hammered on a thousand clanging anvils - a pin beaten into foil. Captain Wilkes when he stopped the Trent by shotted guns knew perfectly well the vessel could not contain contraband of war. Had she been crammed with munitions of war, which would have found their way into the Confederate States after they had been landed in England, he, nevertheless, knew well he could not touch a musket or a cartridge; but he knew Mason and Slidell were on board, and he was determined, coute qui coute [at all costs], to have them.
Tu 10 December 1861


It is too late now to argue the seizure of the Trent as an International Law question. We on this side of the Atlantic have exhausted the whole matter. At first we were so astonished by the audacity of the act that we all went to our books with an expectation that there must be something to be said for it. We all held our breath and hushed down indignation meetings until the black abyss of Admiralty learning had been duly sounded. When this had been done, we believe the English people were universally surprised to find that the outrage had not a shred of law to justify it. We have here examined it so carefully and so impartially that it is useless to talk any more about it. Not equally unnecessary is it on the other side of the Atlantic. Our Special Correspondent describes to-day with lively irony the persistent labours of the Americans to make out a case. They are still at work, turning over the leaves of Wheaton and garbling the judgments of Lord Stowell, Perhaps Mr. Everett and Mr. George Sumner will, after acquiring a habit of searching their authorities, grow to be conscientious as to historical quotations; or, after experience of detection, will at least grow more cautious in falsifying facts. It is well, however, that this discussion should go on in the Federal States. Many a controversialist has been known to convert himself to the party against which he was arguing. If his interest happen to jump in the same way as his conversion, the chances of this happening are still greater. So long as the exploit of Captain Wilkes produced nothing but joy and exultation, and defiance to England, there was no immediate hope; but, now that the Everetts and Sumners are trying to find precedents and authorities to justify the act, we may expect with some confidence that they will soon put away their books, and own that it cannot be done.

We may hope, then, that the Queen's Messenger who carries out that requisition which every Federalist in his heart expects, but, at the same time, declares to be impossible, will find the educated mind of the States fully informed upon the legal bearings of the Wilkes outrage. The American Judges, we may be sure, have long since come to an adverse view of it, or we should have heard their opinions trumpeted forth in the New York papers. The truth will by this time have permeated the literary and legal circles even of Boston, and the sensitive terrors of the men of money will be found in unison with the unwilling convictions of the men of mind. In any other country we should have no doubt that such an alliance would direct the policy of the nation. We have great hopes that this must be so even in America. Our Correspondent reports a rumour in Washington that the captives were to be given up; and the existence of such a rumour, even before it was known that the outrage would not be passed over, shows how widely the conviction was spreading that the capture had been a mistake. But, writing upon the spot, our Correspondent scarcely seems to share the sanguine view which we took of the probabilities when writing yesterday. He thinks that the surrender of the men who now, by almost common consent, are admitted to have been kidnapped from our protection could only be effected at the cost of a break-up of the Government. "There is so much violence of spirit among the lower orders of the people, and they are so ignorant of everything except their own politics and passions, so saturated with pride and vanity, that any honourable concession, even in this hour of extremity, would prove fatal to its authors.'' If this be so, something more is required to terminate this difficulty than a conviction on the part of the Government of America that they are in the wrong. It will require, also, an exercise of that public virtue which Montesquieu holds to be the mainspring of a Republic. It will be requisite, not only that they who have done wrong should recognize the wrongfulness of their act, not only that they should themselves be willing to repair it, but also that they should be prepared, even, at their own peril, to stand between their country and the consequences of their ill deed. Can we expect so much as this from Mr. Lincoln? And, if we dare expect so much as this from Mr. Lincoln, can we expect so much from Mr. Seward!

If we are to be dragged into a war, it is now clear that it will be the democracy who will force us into it. It will not be the rich or the educated, but the ignorant and the penniless, who will make a war in which they have nothing to lose, and of the events of which they have no power of perception. It would be vain enough to reason with such a multitude as to the justice of the case at issue. The more obviously unjust the advantage gained, the greater would be their admiration of the dexterity which had acquired it, and the greater their triumph over the country which permitted it. Mr. Lincoln cannot hope to show them that it is honourable to act justly; but it may be hoped that he will use an argument capable of being appreciated by such minds if he addresses himself directly to their interests. Even that "honest, hard-handed Wisconsin lumberer, who is sitting with his loaded rifle at full cock on the stump of a tree, and reading his newspaper and smoking his tobacco, in the discharge of the highest duties of a citizen and a sentinel," may be made to understand to what unpleasant straits an insolent denial of redress to this country might reduce himself. Surely Mr. Lincoln might contrive to make him understand that if any maritime Power with naval forces greater than those of the United States were to hold the Chesapeake, to blockade Annapolis, and lend some assistance to the willing hands at Baltimore to break up the communications with Washington, it would go hard with that Wisconsin lumberer during the winter. Those seventy thousand men whom General M'Clellan [Major Genera lGeorge Brinton McClellan, organizer of the Army of the Potomac] reviewed, and who are most of them shrewdly sending home their pay, cannot be so ignorant as not to appreciate the fact that it is better Messrs. Mason and Slidell should go to England than that all the supplies of the army of the Potomac should be cut off. It can be very little good to them to know that two gentlemen whom they never saw are shut up in a prison at Boston; but it must he of the first importance to them to be secure that, while they are themselves hutted in the snows, they will have fuel and provisions to keep up their patriotism till next spring or next autumn, as the case may be. It may, no doubt, be very pleasant to the members of that expedition now in permanence at Port Royal to read the vapourings of Captain Wilkes at Boston, and to learn how attentively he qualified himself "by examining Kent, Wheaton, and the rest," to assume the duties of Prize Judge upon the high seas; but the perusal of this lively eloquence would be dearly bought by their being starved into surrender by a hostile blockading squadron.

If Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward are really inclined to do justice and to save their country, there is no lack of facts and arguments at hand fit to work upon the minds of those of the multitude who have the naval and military work to do. And why should they care for any others? American public opinion now resides in camps, and lives only by force of arms. There is no habeas corpus to prevent the repression of disagreeable opposition sentiments, and a mob, so long as it be unarmed, is as harmless in America as it is in Moscow or Warsaw. What Mr. Lincoln has to do is to convince, not the citizens of America, but the Army of the Potomac. Surely, with such persuasive facts at his hand, he can contrive to do this. But if he should fail; he cannot be so much below the level of the occasion, and so unequal to the crisis he himself has brought about, as not to be content to sacrifice personal popularity in order to save his country from the ruin of a foreign war. We cannot yet believe that the new year will bring with it a war from the West. The influence of the highest and the lowest sentiments that can move mankind must be against such an evil consummation. Honest men and honourable men will abhor a war in an unjust cause; avaricious men will hate a war which must be ruinous; and timid men will dread the blow which such a war must draw down. We yet have hopes, but, if those hopes are disappointed, the event will but show how hapless is a nation which, even in its relations with foreign Powers, is governed by its own populace.
Tu 10 December 1861The Naval Reserve. - A sudden display of enthusiasm in connexion with matters of a public character not unfrequently tends to defeat the very object sought to be carried by the outburst. This has been verified in reference to the Naval Reserve, for no sooner was it known that our excellent and gallant friends in the north had come forward with a tender of their services to the Admiralty, than it was widely rumoured that they would he immediately taken at their word, and the entry of fresh hands from the mercantile marine received a decided check. Now, we are most anxious to assure seamen that there is not the smallest intention on the part of the authorities to accept the offer made to them, as not only have we 4,000 men in the Coastguard ships, but we have positively in the different dockyards, employed as riggers, &c., trained men sufficient to man three heavy frigates. Our friends, therefore, in the merchant service may come freely forward and go through their 28 days' drill without any fear of their being required for a longer period, unless, indeed, some other enemy besides America were forced upon us, or a heavy loss were sustained in any engagement which may take place. In either case we imagine that there would then be no holding back on the part of our seafaring population; they would not require to be asked, but they would step forward of their own free will to serve their country. - Army and Navy Gazette.
Tu 10 December 1861The St. Lawrence. - It appears to be the intention of Government to despatch the Australasian and the Persia, between the 15th. and the 20th inst., with troops, &c., to the St. Lawrence, with the view to effecting a landing either at Bic or, if possible, at the Rivière du Loup. It is understood they have received information both from Sir Alexander M'Nab [possibly Sir Allan Napier MacNab, 1798-1862, Prime Minister of the Province of Canada between1854 and 1856], who sailed from Liverpool to-day in the America, and from one of the Quebec pilots who came home in the Jura, that such a landing is practicable; and these opinions are also corroborated by other parties conversant with the river St. Lawrence, The shores are, as a rule, icebound at the end of December, the time at which the steamers may be expected to arrive; but this ice, it is said, does not extend more than two or three miles into the stream, and, if this be the case, there can surely be no great difficulty in overcoming the impediment. Rivière du Loup is some miles higher up the St. Lawrence than Father Point, and Bic is between the two. The advantage, however, in landing at Rivière du Loup is that the railway from Quebec terminates there, and thus a long, tedious, and fatiguing land journey will be saved. All, however, acquainted with the St. Lawrence do not agree in the belief as to the facility for navigating this part of it at the end of December, and these views are in some degree strengthened by an article in the Quebec Morning Chronicle of the 23d of November, received by the steamer Nova Scotian to-day. The editor is combating a suggestion, thrown out by the Montreal Courier, that two steamers should be sent down below and kept running throughout the winter between Rivière du Loup and the lower province ports, so as to maintain their communications with Europe via Halifax, and be independent of the Portland route. To this the Chronicle states in reply that the idea is wild - there is no harbour at Rivière du Loup, and the oft-mentioned harbour of Bio is valueless for anything but boats. Gaspé is frozen up, the Restigouche is sealed as soon as the St. Lawrence, and Shedia is closed also. The last-named are three of the lower ports outside the river, and communicating direct with the Gulf of St. Lawrence. And, observes the Chronicle even the strait between Anticosti and the South shore is so blockaded by icebergs in the winter as to be impassable. After all the editor of the Chronicle is dealing with the winter as a whole; and it may be well worth the trial of entering the river St. Lawrence in December, for, with such experienced commanders as those of the Persia and Australasian, they will know before they get into difficulties whether it be desirable to attempt the entrance or bear away for Halifax; and, as the best chance of success, it is essential that their departure should be expedited as much, as possible, for December and January are two very different months in the St, Lawrence. - Liverpool Albion.
We 11 December 1861


While we are waiting for the answer from the United States which, is to decide whether the new year shall usher in peace or war, nothing can be more interesting than to learn the views entertained of the American question by those on whom the burden of the war seems likely in the first instance to fall. Does Canada, so long given up to peaceful arts and pursuits, and now caught by the suddenness of the crisis just at a period when it will be most difficult to provide her with the means of defence, and when she will be shut in by a wall of ice from all communication with the outward world, - does Canada tremble at the prospect, and seem inclined to propitiate by humility and submission the angry and threatening genius of American Democracy? We never saw anything less like it. The notion of any serious peril does not seem for a moment to have occurred to the Canadians. They discussed the existing question of American politics very much at their ease; quite as much so, indeed, as if they were living in a different hemisphere, instead of with nothing but a river and a chain of lakes between them. As in our own case, so in the case of Canada, the American mind yearns for sympathy, and the American Press reproaches Canada, as it has so often reproached England, with feeling too favourably towards the South, and looking coldly on the heroic efforts and anti-slavery aspirations of the North. Canada is at no loss for an answer. " We confess," says the Montreal Advertiser, " that this condition of feeling does "exist," and it proceeds to show the circumstances from which it took its rise. Canada, like ourselves, has been exposed to the systematic hostility of the American Press, endeavouring to stir up ill blood between the two countries, openly advocating unprovoked aggression, and threatening with an authoritative air on every trivial occasion the absorption of Canada into the United States. True, such threats do not represent the opinions of the educated and right-thinking citizens of the United States, but then, as the Montreal journalist observes, the educated and right-thinking citizens have nothing to do with the Government of the United States. Canada disclaims any jealousy of the political or commercial system of the United States, Their polity, she says, could have no other end but intestine war, anarchy, and military despotism. The mercantile system of the Union is asserted to be far behind that of Canada in liberality, and Canada far before the States in prosperity. The Montreal Journal asserts that there are but two papers in Canada favourable to the United States, - the one the paid organ of the Government of Washington, the other representing the small faction of avowed annexationists which has always existed. Canada considers that she owes the Reciprocity Treaty to the South, and regards the South as her best customer. Such is a brief account of the Canadian view of American affairs, as expounded by a Canadian newspaper, which evidently believes that it speaks the sentiments of the whole community. It will thus be seen that there is little difference in the feeling of Great Britain and her Colony, except that, as Canada has had even more to endure than we have, the feelings which thus find expression are much stronger than those which the people of this country are disposed to entertain, or, at any rate, to announce.

Thus is dissipated another great illusion which I America has endeavoured to spread - the idea that the perfection of her institutions is such as to captivate neighbouring nations, and draw them by an irresistible attraction within the sphere of her influence. The propaganda of the United States must, like that of the religion of Mahomet or the universal fraternity of the French Republic of 1793, be spread by the sword, and by that alone. It seems to create among its neighbours the most active repulsion, the most inveterate aversion. We have no reason to fear that Canada will prefer the Government of President Lincoln to that of Queen Victoria. We ask from Canada no tribute to our treasury, no monopoly for our commerce. We have not even been able to prevent her from burdening our manufactures with a duty of 25 per cent., and we shall be fortunate if we escape without a contribution to a second Grand Trunk Railway, in the shape of a connecting line between Quebec and Halifax, laid out for the benefit of Canada and Nova Scotia, and paid for from the British Treasury. All the value Canada has for us springs entirely from the spectacle she affords to the world of a great nation intrusted with the control of its own destinies willingly remaining the dependency of a remote Power. This fact speaks more eloquently than words, and is a standing answer to all who bring against us reproaches drawn from bygone theories of our history, while it establishes for us a claim unique since the world began, of having ruled with so much moderation that a dependence upon us is preferred to absolute freedom.

The Canadian Press is just as explicit with regard to the violation of our flag as it has been as to the merits of the struggle between the Northern and the Southern States. Its view of International Law is similar to that of the Press of France: - "The deck of an English ship is a part of the soil of England, and ought to give exactly the same protection to strangers as the soil of England itself. The seizure of such a ship is a high-handed insult to our flag, and a challenge to maintain its rights. In answer to such a challenge the people of England will give no uncertain sound." When we remember that this language is held, not by persons reasoning on the question at their ease and at a distance, but by those on whom the first results of any quarrel between England and the United States would be likely to fall far more heavily than on ourselves, it must be confessed that Canada neither lacks the ability to understand the real nature of the outrage and the true principles on which it must be judged, nor courage to meet whatever dangers the determination of England not to endure such an insult may fling across her path. These provinces of Canada, which the American Press, and, we must add, the American Government, have been so long absorbing, seem likely to give to the acute speculators who have already placed their spoils to the credit side of their account as much trouble as the lion's skin did to the man who was killed ahunting of the beast. The confidence of Canada in her own resources is not shown, as in the case of America, by threatening and boasting, but is rather to be deduced from the freedom with which she discusses the most irritating topics and expresses the most unpalatable opinions. We can only urge the Canadians to persevere in the course which they have hitherto adopted - a course of looking to the reality rather than to the pretensions of men. They can detect, standing as they do in a great degree neutral and impartial between the two Governments, how much of tyranny and anarchy may lie concealed under the democratic pretensions of the one, how much of liberality and moderation may lie concealed under the monarchical and aristocratic appearance of the other. We rejoice to see Canada determined to guard her own independence, and resolved to develop the type of civilization and progress that is her own, rather than to fall prostrate before the larger population, the more extended territory, and the louder self-laudation of the United States. Liberty has hitherto been so rare in the world that the types which she may assume are by no means exhausted, and Canada does well to seek the development of her own institutions, and to believe that they promise to her a destiny at least as brilliant as that of her neighbour. In the coming struggle, if come it must, she has, we believe, little to fear. Let her trust to her own energies, and believe that nothing which it is in the power of England to effect shall be wanting to support and to second them.
We 11 December 1861It is satisfactory to find from the American journals that there is already a considerable party in the Northern States distinctly anxious to avoid war with England. It is plain, at any rate, that our demand for reparation in the affair of the Trent will not have the effect of uniting all Americans against us in a spirit of irrational arrogance or Mind desperation. Already, before that demand has arrived, there are organs of public opinion advising concession, and it is clear that the refusal of the Federal Government to do us justice in the matter would create a very angry feeling in the States themselves. Into the party politics traceable through these manifestations we shall not at present enter. It is sufficient to observe that the differences exist, and that if President Lincoln should have the wisdom to meet our requisitions in a proper and reasonable spirit he will certainly find himself supported by a large body of his countrymen. Judging, indeed, from the tone of the journals before us, we should think it by no means impossible that the New York Press may have decided on the abstract propriety of liberating the Confederate Envoys before the arrival of the British messenger with the momentous despatch.

Blind indeed must be the fury of the Americans if they can voluntarily superadd a war with this country to their present overwhelming embarrassments. It is clear, notwithstanding the sanguine spirit in which small successes are regarded, that the Federal Government is making no material progress in the war. On the Potomac the grand review of some 60,000 men was not the prelude to any active operations against the enemy, and precautions, indeed, were taken lest the spectacle itself should be disturbed by a sortie from the Confederate camp and converted into a battle instead of a parade, In the remoter provinces the dead-lock was equally decided. Neither in Virginia, nor in Kentucky, nor in Missouri could the Federal forces obtain any important advantage, while the great naval expedition had as yet proved barren of results. Up to the latest advices Beaufort was still unoccupied, and the capture of Port Royal seemed to promise little more than the capture of Hatteras. The Federal troops, it was said, were retiring from Western Virginia, and the approach of winter would probably keep things in their present position for some months to come.

That position, it cannot now be denied, offers no prospect of any speedy termination of the war. The last six months have shown that, though the resources of the North are indeed great, they are not sufficient for the subjugation of the South, or the establishment of the Federal authority even in the Border States. It appears that the Southern States are really unanimous in their resolution to achieve their independence. The Unionists have effected lodgments on the territories of the Seceders, and displayed the Federal flag on Southern soil, but with no material results. They have not discovered any "loyal" class of citizens anxious to escape from the tyranny of the Confederate Government, nor have they been joined by any sympathizers or partisans. Even the slaves, it is said, cannot be roused against their masters. The Federal Cabinet is divided on the critical question of emancipation, and what is decreed by one Minister is cancelled by another; but, as far as can yet be seen, it appears by no means certain that the slave population would respond to the call of the Abolitionists, even if the policy of that party were to prevail. Reports allege that emancipated slaves are found more ready to act as spies for their former masters than to cooperate with their liberators, and the expectations of the Unionists on this, as on other points, have signally broken down. In the Border States the prospect seems equally hopeless, and, indeed, the divisions of the Union itself are reproduced in these distracted provinces. It appears as if the North was resolved upon Union and the South upon Secession, while the Border States were divided against themselves. In Missouri and Kentucky the great Civil War is represented in miniature. Each province has its Federal army and its Confederate army, its M'Clellan and its Beauregard [Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, 1818-1893, the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army]. An officer of the Federal Government declared that it would take 200,000 men to save Kentucky from being carried out of the Union, and perhaps it would require nearly as many to secure it for the Seceders. The rebellion, in fact, appears as hopeless, as extensive, and as complicated as a rebellion in China.

But, even if the very depth of these embarrassment should be thought suggestive of reckless, counsels, it would still be impossible to discover any prospect either of diversion or relief in a war with England. At first, before the States had become actually disunited, it might have been imagined that domestic quarrels would be hushed in the presence of a foreign foe, but that hope is now over. No European war could now be expected to reconcile North and South. The conflict has gone too far for that, and, indeed, it will have been seen from our opening remarks that even the political parties in the North itself are less likely to unite against England on the international question than to make that question an instrument of party strife. There was a time, no doubt, when the prospect of a war with this country might have been expected to operate like a charm on the American mind, but that time has passed. A rupture with England would now simply encourage one of the belligerents, embarrass the other, create a strong opposition to the Federal Government within the Federal States, and furnish a powerful party with irresistible arguments against the President and his policy.

In any other point of view the case would suggest exactly similar conclusions. It was intimated at the outbreak of the American quarrel that the North might find compensation in Canada for the loss of the South; but, if such an idea as the conquest of the British colony could ever have been really entertained, even by Mr. Seward himself, it can hardly be thought that this is an opportune moment for the execution of the project. It would not have been a light matter at any moment to engage in a struggle with the British Empire, but at present it would be madness. The Federals have already on their hands an enemy who finds work for every man they can raise, and who actually keeps at bay an army which they themselves declare is 600,000 strong. Are the States still in the Union prepared to double this force, to take a second war on their hands, and to engage an enemy on each frontier, like a ship fighting both her batteries at the same time? Are they quite confident about the results of such an undertaking? Are they disposed to see the embarrassments of a blockade transferred from their adversaries to themselves, and to find all their expeditionary forces hopelessly cut off? For those consequences, at least, they must be prepared, if they force us into war with them. Even if we should stand aloof from their private quarrel, we should certainly command the sea, or, in other words, blockade their ports, and compel them to raise the blockade which they are maintaining against the ports of the South.

We trust they will think better of such a policy. Hitherto it cannot be so much as pretended that they have had any reason to complain of us, beyond the sentimental one that we have looked with "coldness" on their efforts to maintain domestic union at the point of the sword. In that respect, however, the very events of the war have justified our views. The attempt which we thought was hopeless has actually proved so; nor has there been a prediction of this kind hazarded which has not been fulfilled. In all material respects we have done as much for them as they could desire. We have not only abstained from interference with a blockade which was paralyzing our manufacturing industry, but we have even carried our recognition of this blockade to the utmost limits of indulgence. Strictly speaking, the blockade has never been legally valid, and a rigorous interpretation of International Law would have justified us in treating it as ineffectual. We allowed it, however, to operate as if it had been actually enforced, and we abstained from any attempt to get at the cotton we needed. We cannot be suspected of any sympathies with slavery, or accused of any clandestine dealings with the South. We have been really and truly neutral, with a very sincere wish that the rupture had never occurred, and a desire that it might be healed at the earliest possible moment. Is this a policy which it would be worth while to convert into one of active hostility? We cannot think so, and we rely on the good sense of the President and people for doing us justice now that we are compelled to ask it.
We 11 December 1861The Troops for Canada. - The preparations for despatching troops and warlike stores to Canada continue to be pushed forward with unabated vigour. Both the Australasian and the Persia are now about ready for sea. The first battalion of the Rifle Brigade, consisting of 38 officers,868 men and non-commissioned officers, and six horses, will embark to-morrow (Wednesday) afternoon at Dublin, on board the City of Dublin Steampacket Company's steamers Windsor and Trafalgar. They will arrive in Liverpool on Thursday morning, and the two steamers named will in course of the forenoon proceed alongside of the steamer Australasian, into which, they will be transhipped, and sail in course of the afternoon for the St. Lawrence. In the course of the same day 90 men belonging to the Rifle Brigade, brought overland from Winchester, will embark from the great landing stage on board the Australasian, which, will also take on board a field battery of guns, together with seven officers and 256 men. In addition to the men and guns, there are also to be put on board a large amount of commissariat rations; and a vast accumulation of sledges, for conveying troops and stores over ice and snow, has already arrived in Liverpool to be carried out by the steamers. The Persia will sail, it is arranged, on Friday or Saturday. The African mail steamer Cleopatra was yesterday ordered to be surveyed on account of Government.
We 11 December 1861The hired screw steam transport Melbourne, Captain Auld, from Woolwich, for North America, entered Plymouth Sound yesterday afternoon, at half-past 2 o'clock, and at 5 was escorted out by the Orpheus, 21, Captain Burnett, C.B. She was inspected in the Sound by Port Admiral Sir Houston Stewart and Major-General Hutchinson, and was despatched by Captain Benson, agent for the charterers, Messrs. Thompson and Tweeddale. The two ships will fill up with coal at Queenstown. The Melbourne, having on board 1,200 tons of munitions of war, is very deep aft, but will be trimmed on the passage.

The 1st Battalion Military Train, stationed at Woolwich, was yesterday medically inspected and passed, ready for embarcation for America.

A proof of large-size Armstrong guns, as well as 32-pounder old pattern guns, is now being actively prosecuted at the Arsenal-butt, Woolwich; and the Royal Repository and Gun parks are being abundantly stocked with reserves of batteries, in immediate readiness for embarcation. An excitement rarely witnessed pervades every department at Woolwich, and the most intense interest is manifested in what is going on.
We 11 December 1861



Sir,- Any one conversant with British history and the principles maintained by the British Government previous to the declaration of the Congress of Plenipotentiaries at Paris on the 26th of April, 1856, must be surprised to see the overheated excitement and warlike preparation which have pervaded England since the receipt of the news of the arrest, on board of the Trent, by the commander of the San Jacinto, of Messrs. Slidell and Mason, the Commissioners named by the revolutionary party in the United States to represent it in Great Britain and France; and the surprise is not lessened by the knowledge that the act complained of as an offence to the British flag was the exercise of an acknowledged belligerent right, and one heretofore carried to the utmost extreme by Great Britain.

Towards the close of the last and the beginning of the present century the British Government acted with the most unscrupulous severity towards neutrals, and, indeed, may be said not to have paid any regard to their rights or to the declarations and protests of neutral Powers. Accumulated proofs may be found in works on international law, and many cases may be cited to show the inconsistency between the policy of the British Cabinet at that time and the course it is now pursuing towards the United States.

The present question may be reduced to two points:-
1. Was the commander of the San Jacinto justified in visiting the Trent on the high seas?
2. Can the persons taken out of the Trent be legitimately considered as contraband of war?

In time of war every vessel met on the high seas by a ship of war of a belligerent is held to be an enemy, whatever may be the flag she wears, until her real character is ascertained; and even after showing that she is a neutral she must exhibit proof that she is not engaged in any commerce made illicit by the state of war. This is the foundation of the right of search, and according to the best authorities it is not the exercise of any act of jurisdiction over neutral vessels, but one of necessary precaution, based upon the right of self-preservation. With respect to this right no nation has carried its pretension so far as Great Britain, for during the wars growing out of the first French Revolution the British Government went to the extreme of insisting that even neutral vessels under convoy of a man of war were not exempt from search, and that resistance on the part of the convoying ship to the visit and examination of the vessels under its escort would be regarded as a hostile act. The enforcement of this pretension in 1799 gave rise to serious questions between Great Britain and Sweden and Denmark.

This police of the seas was not confined to a search for articles evidently contraband of war, but extended to impressing British subjects from on board of neutral vessels, on the ground that His Majesty's subjects were bound to serve him in time of war. The American Government, after protesting against the repeated encroachments made by Great Britain upon its rights as a neutral, instructed its Minister at London to open a negotiation upon the subject, and to propose that no person should be taken out of a vessel belonging to either party unless he should be in the military service of the enemy. The British Government rejected this proposition, upon the ground that it would afford facilities for the escape of traitors. Several modifications were posed by the United States, all of which were objected to by Great Britain, and the persistence of the latter in her vexatious exactions finally led to war between the two countries.

The right of search or visitation of neutrals by a belligerent, under proper restrictions, is not disputed by the United States, as may be seen in their treaties with France, Spain, Prussia, &c, where the right is expressly admitted, the manner of making the search regulated, the articles which shall be deemed contraband defined, and the manner of disposing of them stipulated.

The right in a belligerent to visit neutral vessels to ascertain their character and the nature of their cargo being recognized, it is clear that the commander of the San Jacinto was fully justifiable in bringing to the Trent for the purpose of visitation.

I shall now examine whether the persons taken out of the Trent can be considered as contraband of war.

The term, "contraband of war," is generally understood to mean arms, munitions of war, naval stores, and other articles prepared and formed to make war, by land or by sea. It also comprehends officers or other persons in the service of the enemy, and despatches, bills of exchange, &c. sent from or to an enemy.

Respecting Messrs. Slidell and Mason, there was no doubt of the purpose for which they embarked on board of the Trent. The object of their mission to Europe was well known; they were not coming out in a private capacity, but were invested with as much official character as could be given by a revolutionary party, and as such clearly contraband in every proper acceptation of the term. They were so according to the principles of international law, and, as far as Great Britain is concerned, doubly so under the Queen's Proclamation.

The carrying of military or civil officers of the enemy is much more dangerous than the transport of merchandise contraband of war, as the latter may, in some sort, be considered as a commercial transaction, and the vessel engaged in carrying such officers loses her neutral character, and the other belligerent has the perfect right to treat her as an enemy. So also with regard to enemies' despatches carried by a neutral, according to Sir William Scott, who said that by the transmission of a single despatch the entire plan of a campaign might be revealed and all the plans of the other belligerents counteracted. If, in practice, the contraband articles transported must be in large quantities in order to constitute an offence, the same rule will not apply to despatches. "It is impossible to limit a letter to so small a size as not to be capable of producing the most important consequences." The transmission of despatches is a service which, in whatever degree it exists, can only be considered in one character, as an act of the most injurious and hostile nature. The ship which carries them should be confiscated. [Case of the "Atlantic," Robinson's Reports.]

The fact of carrying the despatches of an enemy by a neutral vessel being an offence of such gravity as to involve her confiscation, it follows that the transport of the bearers of them is one of greater magnitude, and the injurious nature of the act is enhanced where the object of them is to invest their bearers with a representative character, to enable them to labour for the destruction of the Government and even the political existence of the other belligerent.

Messrs. Slidell and Mason were therefore contraband, and their character of emissaries of the revolted States could not be invoked to entitle them to the protection of the law of nations; for, according to Sir William Scott (Lord Stowell), in the case of the "Caroline", and other authorities of note, a belligerent may "stop the ambassador of his enemy on his passage."

The right to arrest them is not denied by the legal advisers of the Crown (if their opinion in the matter has been correctly reported by the press), since their objections are based principally on the fact, that the Commander of the San Jacinto took Messrs. Slidell and Mason immediately out of the Trent, instead of sending her to the nearest convenient port for adjudication. This objection might have been valid had the contraband consisted of arms, &c., in such large quantity or bulk as not to have admitted of being conveniently transferred to the visiting vessel. Such, at least, is the principle laid down in the treaties between the United States and other nations; wherein it is stipulated that "no neutral vessel shall be detained on the high seas on account of her having on board articles of contraband, whenever the master, captain, or supercargo will deliver the articles of contraband to the captor, unless, indeed, the quantity of such articles be so great or of so large bulk that they cannot be received on board the capturing vessel without great inconvenience; but in this case and all others of just detention the vessel detained shall be sent to the nearest and safe port for trial and judgment, according to law."

The inference to be drawn from the words in the above and other clauses relating to the visitation of neutral vessels and contraband, in time of war, in the treaties concluded by the United States is, that the object of the contracting parties was to prevent inconvenience or the detention of the visited ship, and the stipulation just cited is intended to apply to articles of bulk, such arms, &c., rather than to officers or persons in the actual service of the enemy. Where, then, the latter are found on board of a neutral vessel, by a ship of war of a belligerent, there can be no question of bulk; and the captain of the Trent should have delivered up such persons without demur. As he did not do so Captain Wilkes would have been justified in sending the Trent to the United States for trial; but he, no doubt, preferred removing them and permitting the vessel to continue her voyage in the interest of the public, as the detention of the mails would have caused great inconvenience to the commercial community in Great Britain and elsewhere.

The justice of regarding this act of forbearance and good will on the part of the American commander as an encroachment on the neutral rights of Great Britain, or of making it the ground of a formal reclamation against the United States, may very well be doubted. It would seem, indeed, that the real wrong was in the captain of the merchant steamer receiving on board persons notoriously in the employment of the revolted States, thereby committing a flagrant breach of neutrality, and acting in direct contravention of the injunctions of his Sovereign. Surely if the captain of a British steamer chose to receive such passengers on board, neither his owners nor his Government can reasonably complain of their extradition by a national vessel of the United States.

It is novel to see the British Government appear as the stanch advocate of neutral rights after so many years of contrary policy; and it will be equally inconsistent, after so many years of cruising and so great an amount of treasure being spent in the suppression of the slave trade, to see the standard of St. George wave side by side with the Palmetto flag for the protection and encouragement of the "demoralizing institution." I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
J. RANDOLPH CLAY [John Randolph Clay, 1808-1885, diplomat],
Formerly Charge d' Affaires of the United States at St. Petersburg and Vienna, and Envoy, &c., to Peru.
Cheltenham, Dec. 9.
We 11 December 1861As Mr. Randolph Clay has been from time to time intrusted by the United States with various important diplomatic missions, we must consider him to be one of those whom the Americans would hold out to us as their representative men in Europe. When he writes to us we expect from him a favourable specimen of American reasoning, we hope to find in him a rational and coherent disputant, and we open our columns at once to his letter, confident of finding in it evidence of what the more responsible minds in America are likely to think upon the difficulty which now monopolizes all public attention. We are anxious to fix upon some advocate of Federal America who has stable notions of International Law, and a sense of responsibility as to the accuracy of statements of fact. There is in this country a yearning after something feasible on the American side of the question. When we read the ribaldry of the Press which represents the rabble of New York, and see the shallow knavery of the lawyers at Boston, we are not satisfied that we know all that can be said. There is something so unreal in all that we have yet got from America as to be eminently unsatisfactory. They themselves evidently put no faith in what they say. "We honour you," said the Town Council of Boston to Commodore Wilkes, "for the sagacity, judgment, decision, and fairness which characterized your recent brilliant achievement". "This spontaneous burst of applause," answered Commodore Wilkes, "has been as unexpected as it is gratifying." The Commodore has been accused of being a wild and reckless man, but even he is astonished at the rashness of the Bostonians in approving what he has done. In the consciousness of power and the horror of bloodshed, we are most anxious to discover an excuse to avoid the necessity of punishing an outrage. We are obliged to any one who undertakes to supply this excuse, and when we looked to the signature of the letter we publish to-day, and to the official designations which follow that signature, we thought we must surely have lighted upon the long-expected defence of an act which has hitherto appeared incapable even of extenuation.

Mr. Randolf Clay's letter is now before the world. We are much afraid that it will be read with some impatience. An expression of surprise at the "overheated excitement" occasioned in England by the news of an outrage upon the British flag is, we submit, in a foreigner an impertinence, and in a diplomatist a blunder. Surely he, as an alien, may allow us to place our own value upon our own honour, and to indulge or repress our feelings at the sense of insult as may be in unison with our own feeling of self-respect. Passing from this intrusive introduction, we come at once to the two propositions which this American diplomatist undertakes to establish. The first is that the Commander of the San Jacinto was justified in visiting the Trent on the high seas; and the second is, that the persons taken out of the Trent were legitimately to he considered as "contraband of war." Upon the first point we are not interested in maintaining any discussion. It has little to do with the present question. The right of search of neutral vessels is a part of the Law of Nations. But the exercise of that right has, like the exercise of all other rights, its limits in reason and propriety. If the Federals or the Confederates were to stop every steamer that passes between Dover and Calais, the Law of Nations would justify them, so far as the object of the stoppage was only to satisfy the captain of the cruiser of the character of the ship and the place of her destination. We are quite sure, however, that neither we nor the French would long endure such a vexatious exercise of this belligerent right, and that we should be at war in a month with any belligerent Power which pretended so to use it. But if, going beyond this, a Confederate or a Federal cruiser were to station herself in the Channel, and after stopping every mail steamer were to open the mail bags and take out the letters addressed to Americans, or were to take captive all Americans of hostile character found on board those packets, the affront would be at once pronounced intolerable.

There is no difference whatever for this purpose between the Channel separating Dover and Calais and the sea separating Havannah and Southampton. The same principle which would enable an American ship of war to take Mr. Mason out of the Trent would justify the Nashville in taking Mr. Adams out of the Lord Warden, if Mr. Adams should happen to be going to Paris. The right of visit which Mr. Clay claims, when properly understood, amounts to no more than this, - his officer had a right to be satisfied, if he had any doubt, that the Trent was a neutral vessel bonâ fide bound to a neutral port. Captain Wilkes, however, knew the Trent, and he knew her trade and her destination, and he therefore had no right to stop her at all. To stop her was a discourtesy, and a straining of the right of belligerents; but when he had done so his utmost right was to satisfy himself of her nationality and her destination. To this extent we admit Mr. Clay's claim that the Commander of the San Jacinto had a legal right to stop and question the Trent.

Mr. Clays second position is that the persons taken out of the Trent were legitimately contraband of war. We answer that if this were so it would be nothing to the present purpose, for that "contraband of war" cannot to legitimately taken out of a vessel, and that nothing can be contraband of war until it has been so characterized by a Prize Court. Of course, this is the point upon which we take our stand. let is the whole question between violence and justice, between Lynch law and regular procedure. If the Trent had been laden to the bridge with combustibles, and bound to New Orleans, Captain Wilkes could not have taken a barrel of powder out of her without taking her into port and getting her condemned. Mr. Clay forfeits his right to be considered as a serious reasoner upon such matters as this when he passes or assumes a point upon which the whole matter hangs. But we are so affluent in reasons that we can afford, for the purpose of this particular article, to pass over even this capital point. To the assertion that Messrs. Mason and Slidell were "contraband of war" we answer at once that it was not possible that the Trent, going from a neutral port to a neutral port, could carry contraband of war. The law upon this subject is so simple that it is impossible to mystify it. For the benefit of Messrs. Everett, and George Summer, and Randolf Clay, we will reproduce it once more. Perhaps it is most concisely and satisfactorily stated by Mr. Pratt, in his treatise on "Contraband." Here it is:- "The object of the laws against contraband being to prevent the communication of assistance to the enemy, it is absolutely necessary, to constitute that offence, that the destination of the goods should be to a hostile port. Goods going to a neutral port cannot fall under that denomination, the conveyance of any goods to such a destination being lawful. When, however, two ports of different character are situated in the same bay, not separated by a headland, they are considered as identified, and a destination to the neutral one will not protect from condemnation. If the original destination be to a hostile port, but that destination have been changed before capture, the vessel and cargo become exempt from the charge of contraband. Thus, in the case of the Imina, the vessel had sailed with an original destination to Amsterdam, with a cargo of ship-timber, but, having on the voyage learnt that that place was under blockade, the master formed the design of changing his course to Emden, and altered it accordingly. The Court observed, - "I must ask, then, was this property taken in delicto, in the prosecution of an intention of landing it at a hostile port? Clearly not'; and held, that 'although from the moment of quitting port on a hostile destination the offence is complete, that it is not necessary to wait till the goods are actually endeavouring to enter the enemy's port, yet, the variation of the destination having happened, the parties after that time, entitled to the benefit of it,' and decreed restitution. This exemption is also extended to cases where the orders respecting the destination are discretionary, and where there is evidence before the Court that, acting upon that discretion, it was not the intention of the master to go to such a port as would entail the penalty of contraband." Now, this is the Law, and also the reasonable intent of the Law of Contraband, It is not to prevent our receiving, or any other neutral nation receiving, muskets from Liège or naval stores from Russia, but to prevent the Federals or Confederates receiving muskets or naval stores from Belgium, France, Russia, or England.

It is melancholy to find that people who have the reputation in Europe of being favourable specimens of the American race are so incapable of understanding a plain argument. What Mr. Randolph Clay may think, or what Mr. Everett or Mr. George Sumner may think, or what Mr. Seward may think, would be of no importance if they were arguing here in a University Common Room or over an English dinner table; but what would be a harmless fallacy in private conversation becomes important and mischievous if it is to be considered as the probable faith of the American people. At this moment it becomes of momentous interest to us to know how high this flood of ignorance and passion has risen, and whether there are no intellects so high as to be left undrowned.
Th 12 December 1861


As the great navigator examined with anxious eyes the drifting seaweed, and listened with strained eats to the cries of the birds that came from the country on which his hopes and fears were fixed, so we also, in our suspense and uncertainty, catch at light evidences, and seek to read in trivial facts the issue of that great decision which even now is forming behind that veil of distance. It is useless, perhaps, to make vain guesses at what a few days will disclose, and, while we are urging on our preparations for war, it is to no great purpose that we calculate the possibilities, of peace. From hour to hour, it may be even before these words are published, the President's Message may reach us in abbreviated form, and thus may give some further means of calculating the chances whether our kinsmen across the ocean will choose justice and peace or outrage and war. We may, perhaps, find in that Message safe generalities from which a prudent Government may retire, or prudent counsels which may even have anticipated the coming demand; or, on the other hand, we may read in it some indiscreet declarations in unison with the loose talk of the multitude, and we may find the Chief Magistrate of the Northern Republic committed to sustain an outrage which leaves us no alternative but war.

Still it is not without a purpose that we examine the small facts that tend to throw light upon the present condition of the public mind in the United States. In a little time we English may not improbably be ourselves too excited to pause dispassionately upon the facts that come from America. Let us, while we may, form such judgment as we can upon the opinions of the nation with whom we may be about to fight, and see under what feelings they force upon us the contest, if contest there is to be. We confess we think it an ill sign that so large and influential a city as Boston should have identified itself so completely with this wanton insult to England. Captain Wilkes has, it is said, received the freedom of eleven American cities, and he finds himself such a hero that he is zealous to claim the whole credit of his deed, and to monopolize the honour of his safe exploit. This causes us no great concern. These eleven cities may be very small matters, and the Wilkites may have been more noisy than numerous. The Boston banquet, however, seems to have been a more important affair. It was presided over by a gentleman of considerable position in that city; and it was a meeting, not of the rabble, but of the chief citizens of the State. Among the speakers were the Governor of the State of Massachusetts, the Mayor of the city, and two Judges. Perhaps the speeches of the Judges were of more evil importance than any others. They put aside with contempt the legal consideration of the case, and openly declared that what had been done must be justified by the sword. "Commodore Wilkes", said Judge Bigelow, "acted more from the noble instincts of his patriotic heart than from any sentence he read in any law-book." Again, "A man does not want to look into law-books, to ask counsel, or to consult Judges upon his duty; his heart, his instinct, tells him what he ought to do." These are wild words from lawyers. Judge Bigelow has just enough professional pride left in him not to compromise his character as a lawyer, but bids his countrymen back up, in lieu of law, the instinctive audacity of a sailor. Judge Russell followed in the same vein - vapouring defiance, but scorning a justification. The Governor of Massachusetts said that | it "crowned the exultation of his American heart that Commodore Wilkes fired his first shot across the bows of the ship that bore the British lion at its head." Altogether this was a gathering at which it seemed to be taken for granted that an act had been done which was not to be reasoned upon, but must be supported by arms. This was not the public expression of the opinion of some half-savage territory. It was not the clamour of a crowd, nor the writing of an unscrupulous journalist whom all might be anxious to disavow. Massachusetts is one of the most respectable States in the Union, and the Governor of Massachusetts came exulting over the fact that an insult had been offered to the emblem of this country. Boston is the chief city of that respectable State, and the Mayor of that city saw in that insult the resurrection of the fallen glories of the Republic. The Judges, subject to periodical re-election, might have trembled for their positions and truckled to the popular voice; but their preference of force to expositions of law showed at least the temper of the audience they addressed.

Boston claims to be an intellectual city. It is the seat of a literary clique, it is the focus of Transatlantic small talk. There are salons where men and women talk carefully, and there are societies, such as Molière ridiculed. Boston is in America what Edinburgh is here. It is the last place to which we should have looked for such coarse extravagance and such vulgar insult as that we have transcribed from the mouths of Judges and Governors and heads of Corporations. It is a bad symptom to find such noxious folly so rife in such a place. On the other hand, we may, perhaps, comfort ourselves with the reflection that in a great crisis these circles and coteries have never been found to exercise much influence over the general public. In the days of the Orleanists Paris was ruled by its salons. But where were Thiers and Guizot, and all their train of talkers and writers, when the Revolution came? That event swept them all away like mown grass, and discovered, to the astonishment of all, that they had no root in the soil. It maybe so in this case. This Boston banquet may be merely the clatter of a little sect magnified by the echoes of a large hall. Offensive and in bad taste as the demonstration was under any circumstances - for the demonstration was made partly against captives held in prison, but chiefly against a neutral and unoffending people - it may still have no root in the great popular mind of the country. The people may have more sense of the importance of legality in the conduct of international affairs than the Judges; the middle classes may have more good taste, and refrain from violent language more carefully, than the Governors of States and the heads of Corporations; the untaught multitude may have more regard for truth than the literary and diplomatic heads of Universities. This may be so, but we await coming events with anxiety. The straws and seaweed that float towards us seem to come from a swelling sea, as though, storms were raging further off, and the last glimpse we have of the state of feeling in New York shows us that city in full excitement at the news of the burning of the Harvey Birch [a Union merchantman, captured and burnt in the English Channel by the CSS Nashville, a Confederate commerce raider, which subsequently put into Southampton for repairs]. We may await the issue with hope, but we must not forget that it is a hateful thing for the boastful to swallow their own words of offence, and a hard thing for the unjust to be compelled to do justice.
Th 12 December 1861Mr. Horsman's speech, at Stroud may be taken as a fair and comprehensive expression of British opinion on the subject of America. The views which he gave of the origin, character, and objects of this great Civil War are the views now all but universally accepted in this country, and his description of the phases through which public opinion passed on this important question is perfectly accurate. We began with a decided prepossession in favour of the Northern States. The Southerners, after a long monopoly of power and influence, had apparently rebelled against the results of a fair and legitimate election, and threatened to subvert the whole fabric of the Union, because, for once, their political antagonists had carried the day. Upon this view of the case, and apart even from the question of slavery, we all said, as Mr. Horsman [Edward Horsman, 1807-1876, Liberal M.P. for Stroud] says now, that the Secession was not justifiable. That Secession, however, was actually accomplished, and when ten millions of people had declared their resolution to achieve their independence by force of arms, it was too late to enter into questions of State rights or Federal prerogatives. Gradually, it is true, many things occurred to modify our original conclusions on the causes of quarrel. We saw distinctly that if Slavery was uppermost in the views of the South, Emancipation had no place among the objects of the North. We learnt from the admissions of all parties that the causes of dispute were manifold; that the interests of North and South conflicted at. innumerable points; that the idea of separation had been cherished for years; and that the Presidential election of 1860 was simply the spark which had lit the train and produced the long-menaced explosion. All this we saw, but the one consideration which outweighed all others in the public mind was the simple fact of the war. After the two sections of the Union had actually taken the field against each other, and had vented the political animosities of a whole generation in an appeal to the sword, it was plain to all reasonable men that the American Union was a thing of the past. The "inexorable logic of facts" precluded all further dissertation. What was gone could never be recovered, and we wished, therefore, that the belligerents, whatever, might be their relative claims to European sympathies, should come to such terms as would put a stop to bloodshed. So far Mr. Horsman has faithfully expressed the views of the public, and he was debarred by the very nature of the case from any novelties of opinion. But he presently overstepped these bounds, and proceeded to speculate with unusual confidence upon the events of the future. On two points of great moment he ventured to utter distinct predictions. He avowed his "ardent and sincere" belief that there would be no war between England and America on the subject of the Trent, and he delineated, for the information of his constituents, the future condition of the Northern Republic after the final severance of the South. His arguments on these points, and especially on the former, will be received with much interest by the public.

Mr. Horsman founds his anticipations of peace on two distinct grounds. He holds that it is not the interest of the Northern Americans to go to war with us, and that it is "consistent with their character and honour" to avoid that extremity. The first assertion is, indeed, incontrovertible. The Americans were always weaker than ourselves, and they are now weaker than ever. We happen to be prepared for war to an extent never before known, while the Federalists are unable to gain any material advantage over an enemy already confronting them in the field. If it is said that a foreign war will at any rate enable them to escape with less humiliation from a hopeless civil war, and indemnify them by conquests in the North for losses in the South, Mr. Horsman replies that on this frontier also they are quite as likely to lose as to gain, and that Canada may gain territory in the States, instead of the States gaining territory in Canada. Then, at sea, their navy will be unable for a moment to cope with ours, while the days of privateering - the old resource of the Americans -must be considered as gone. Not to mention that steam would drive all old-fashioned cruisers from the ocean, it is plain that American privateers could neither leave their own ports, which would be closely blockaded, nor bring their prizes, if they made any, into any ports of Europe, which would be all closed against them. Every word of this is true; and, though Mr. Horsman is less diffuse in arguing out his second proposition, we perfectly agree with his assertion that the Northerners can give us the redress we demand, not only without disparagement to their honour, but with credit to their justice and wisdom. Nevertheless, there is a point of infinite importance overlooked in these arguments. The Federalists would do nothing but what is right in making reparation for the attack upon the Trent, and they would do themselves an enormous injury by dragging us into war. But will these considerations suffice to rule either the passions of the populace or the policy of the Government? That is the real question to he answered, and we sincerely trust that Mr. Horsman's confidence may be justified by the event.

It is instructive to compare the prospects of America, as sketched in the speech before us, with the visions depicted in another speech to which public attention has recently been directed. Mr. Horsman augurs well of the future, but his aspirations are modest, practical, and reasonable. He does not look for any prodigious federation, or any Democratic Republic coextensive with one of the continents of the world. He conceives, indeed, that "by the law of nature all overgrown bodies must break down," and that there is nothing in democratic institutions which can exempt a State from the common destiny. If he judges favourably of the prospect before the Northern Republic, it .is because he hopes that its institutions may be rather corrected than sublimed by the present trial, and that, instead of "freedom everywhere and equality everywhere," according to the American acceptance of such terms, rational habits of subordination and submission may be introduced among the newly-organized people. "The disasters", says he, "of the present day having opened their eyes to the unsafe parts of their Constitution, they will form a stronger Government, when the law will not be the American law, but the old English law - when the few will govern and the many obey, instead of every man governing and no man obeying." There is considerable sagacity in this view of the case. The Americans, in fact, are but passing through that kind of trial which is said to benefit all men except those who are deaf to teaching. Hitherto, as Mr. Horsman truly says, the people of the Union have been privileged to do what was permitted to no other people. They enjoyed a political licence to conduct themselves as they chose, and many an act which would have caused a war if committed by others was passed over forbearingly when committed by them. The consequence was such a blind and irrational arrogance of temper, and such an impatience of government or control, as have now set them at deadly feud among themselves. If they read this lesson aright, they will certainly learn to modify their views of Republican rights as well as of Republican destinies; nor do we think that Democracy will be any the worse for finding that it is liable to the same penalties which visit excesses under any other institutions. After all, the lesson read to the citizens of the Union will not be by comparison a hard one. They will only learn that their lot is not, as they had fancied, exempt from checks and burdens. The worst that can come is that the people of the New World will have been taught to give and take, like the people of the old. They must be content to see others living near them with institutions of their own, to incur the trouble of settling and protecting frontiers, to practise such moderation of policy as may prevent quarrels, and to understand that people cannot always have their own way. The advantage of these simple lessons will more than compensate them, Mr. Horsman thinks, for the division of territory and the loss of Imperial power, and he prophesies that out of all this collapse and chaos we shall see a new State "with a new future before it, with a higher intelligence, with a sounder morality, with a purer patriotism." These bold predictions must be judged by the event, but they certainly contain nothing which ought to make them unacceptable to the Americans themselves.
Fr 13 December 1861General Scott.- General Scott [Winfield Scott, 1786-1866, former general-in-chief of the Union army], who came to Europe only a few weeks ago for the restoration of his health, returns to America in order to aid the work of peace by the weight of his character and the sagacity of his counsels. The General re-embarked on Wednesday night for Now York in the steamer Arago. On Tuesday he had a long interview with Prince Napoleon, and, if we are correctly informed, he will carry to Mr. Lincoln an expression of the desire of the Emperor of the French to do his part, should an opportunity arise, towards bringing the present disagreement to a favourable issue. - Express.
Fr 13 December 1861

(From our special correspondent)
Washington, Nov. 29.

... The tone in which England is spoken of is unfriendly enough, but it would be wrong to think that the press represents public feeling without large exceptions on that point. Still, the leaven is working; every opportunity is taken to stir it up, and actual warfare could scarcely engender more menaces and threatenings. The Mason and Slidell affair seems to be dismissed from men's minds, but they are waiting anxiously for the account of the reception of the news from England, and affect to believe it must be received without irritation or surprise there.

Captain Wilkes is, as I said he would be - and, indeed, not a shred of the prophetical mantle was needed to inspire the prediction - a hero at once, and the photographers are upon him. He has been receiving a dinner and making a speech, which in mercy or in justice is not reported, but it is described as rapid and compendious, and the paragraph relating to it states - mark this - that Captain Wilkes declared he would not have removed Mr. Slidell and Mr. Mason if "they could have shown a pass from the Government (perhaps Governor) General." Of what? Of Cuba or of the Confederate States? The statement is inexplicable, but if Captain Wilkes said anything of the kind it shows clearly he felt he had no right to seize Mr. Slidell and Mr. Mason as common enemies, as contraband of war carriers, or as "ambassadors;" but that he made them prisoners because they were not provided with some mysterious document or another, of which no one ever heard before. It is quite evident why Captain Wilkes is made a hero. The discharge of an ordinary well understood duty does not entitle any man to such honours even in America. If the act were not one of defiance and outrage, let us say not on the law, but on the well understood principles regulating international comity and usage, there would have been no heroism about it. It is remarked with something like an air of astonishment, or with satisfaction, according to the tone of the reporter, that Mr. Mason, is not uproariously convivial, or that Mr. Slidell is not in tears in the prison. One is reminded of Dickens's story about the cockney who denied that the French were at all lighthearted or gay, because he had seen 2,000 of them prisoners in an English hulk, and not one had a smile on his face. The captives are treated, it is said, in the same way as other prisoners; but I must really protest against the notion which is prevalent here - if I am to judge from the assertions in some of the principal papers - that political offenders in England are "thrown into the dungeons of the Tower, heavily chained and ironed", or that they are used like felons. Mr. O'Connell had what our American friends call "a very nice time of it" in Richmond gaol, and even Brigadier-General Meagher could testify that he and his fellow prisoners were not treated with harshness or indignity in their Irish prisons by the "myrmidons" of the British Government.

Do not he in the least alarmed at the statement in one of the malignant enemies of the peaceful relations of the United States and England, that Lord Lyons has in the smallest degree violated the letter or the spirit of the most honourable neutrality. The "excited President and Cabinet", who stared over the "rebel documents" brought by a distinguished military officer from Fortress Monroe, and discovered that Lord Lyons in his official capacity was a mere agent for forwarding despatches from the Confederates through British Consular agents in the South, must really feel rather ashamed of these falsehoods at their cost. As to the British Minister, it would seem that certain American journals of the type which has reduced the Cis-Atlantic press to a degree of powerlessness without a parallel in journalism, imagine that he is a mere peg to hang scandals upon, and that he is bound to notice every lie which the poverty of intelligence or the richness of imagination of their agents may lead them to invent. There are the most positive orders in the Chancellery of the Legation prohibiting the Attache's, or others, from even writing to any of our own Consuls in the South or sending letters under any pretence to the Southern States, and the Consular agents are ordered most positively not to affix their seals to any private correspondence. One of these gentlemen, without authority, sent a few commercial letters to Lord Lyons for transmission. But the British Minister at once sent them to Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, and informed him that he would have nothing to do with forwarding them. Nothing, however, can abash or shame these scandalous mythologists. Confute a hundred times, the "creature's at his dirty work again." The French Consul at New Orleans, as I am informed, still sends commercial letters for French subjects by the cruisers, without any difficulty or restriction, and not a word is said.
Fr 13 December 1861The route having arrived at the Sheet-street Barracks, Windsor, yesterday morning for the immediate departure for town of 200 rank and file of the 1st Battalion of Scots Fusileer Guards, who have been doing garrison duty at Windsor Castle since October last, the men were in readiness as early as 10 o'clock in the forenoon. They marched through the town in high spirits to the South-Western station en route for Paddington, headed by their fine band, playing "I'm off to Charleston early in the Morning," and were loudly cheered by the inhabitants. On arriving in town they will join the 2d Battalion of Scots Fusileer Guards, in order to make up their full complement of 1,000 men, who are to sail immediately for Canada.

Telegraphic instructions to charter the Royal Mail Company's steamship Magdalena were received at Southampton last night, and to-day large numbers of workmen have been employed in getting her ready for this service. It is understood that the Guards will be sent out in the Adriatic and the Parana.

Yesterday morning a detachment of the Rifle Brigade, accompanied by a battery of Artillery, arrived in Liverpool by the London and North-Western Railway, and marched to the south landing-stage, whence they embarked on board the Australasian steamship. At the same time a large quantity of ammunition, baggage, and military stores was also sent on board of the Australasian. In course of the forenoon the Dublin Steam-Packet Company's steamers Windsor and Trafalgar arrived in the Mersey, containing the head-quarters and most of the 1st battalion of the Rifle Brigade. They immediately proceeded alongside the Australasian and transhipped the troops into the latter. The whole of the arrangements were made under the superintendence of Captain Leyster, R.N., Admiralty agent for Liverpool. It was intended, if the matter could possibly he accomplished, that the Australasian should sail by the evening's tide; if that could not be accomplished, she was to sail by this morning's tide.

The 18th company of Royal Engineers, commanded by Capt. Hewitt, has been reinforced with 60 men from headquarters, and is hold in readiness for immediate embarkation for Canada. No vessel has yet been named to convoy them to their destination, but it is expected they will embark in a man-of-war.

War-office instructions were yesterday received in the carriage department of Woolwich Arsenal, ordering the hasty manufacture of 2,000 pack saddles, and a proportionate number of store and ambulance waggons and carts of various descriptions, for despatch to North America. The Royal Laboratory department is also engaged in extra work in order to execute a heavy demand for Armstrong cartridges, which are ordered to be prepared with separate lubricating wads.

Nos. 1, 2, and 3 batteries, forming the 1st division of the 10th Brigade Garrison Artillery, will leave Woolwich garrison this morning per rail for Liverpool, in command of Col. Cleaveland, to embark on board the Niagara mail packet for Halifax. The strength of the brigade under orders for departure is about 1,000 of all ranks. It will be commanded by Col. P. Dunlop, C.B.

Yesterday orders were received at the head-quarters of the Royal Engineers, Chatham, by Col. Harness, C.B., directing the non-commissioned officers and men of the companies at Brompton who have been transferred to the 15th (Capt. Maquay's) company, to proceed this morning to Liverpool, to embark the following day, with the 15th company, on board the Persia, for Canada. The company goes out 120 strong. The detachment of non-commissioned officers and men of the Royal Engineers who have been doing duty at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, joined head-quarters yesterday. They are all picked men, and each thoroughly perfect in the various branches of sapping and mining and other engineering operations. They will be the next to proceed to Canada. A notification was also received at Chatham yesterday, that in addition to the companies of Royal Engineers already under orders for Canada, the 4th company, now at Dover, employed on the fortifications at that part of the coast will also be despatched to Canada. The 15th company will leave the Curragh today so as to be in time to embark also in the Persia. By direction of the Deputy- Adjutant-General, a number of non-commissioned officers of the Royal Engineers were yesterday placed under orders to hold themselves in readiness for Canada. It was yesterday stated at Chatham that no fewer than 10 companies of Royal Engineers were to be sent to British North America.
Sa 14 December 1861


Sir, - The intimation in yesterday's Times of "a yearning in this country after" American views upon the new complication of our relations with England, followed this morning by relaxing and even kindlier strictures, tempts me to submit briefly some thoughts which an occurrence profoundly embarrassing suggests; not, however, upon "international law", for, as an humble journalist, I have been accustomed only to the common-sense interpretations of public questions; and, were I at all qualified to enter into the legal argument, I should be inclined to accept your own view of the question - viz., that time and circumstances have so far changed the practice and reformed the principles of international maritime law as to render the earlier precedents and authorities largely inapplicable to existing cases; and, further, while the concession, in proving my candour may impeach my patriotism, I am constrained to admit that in the ventilation of the Laurens seizure, as cited by Mr. George Sumner, the bottom has fallen out of our strongest precedent.

Dismissing, therefore, the legal considerations of the Trent and San Jacinto question, I confess to a very strong "yearning" that the English Government, its press, and its people, may be disabused of an impression which has so generally obtained, that our Government seeks occasions for disagreement, or cherishes other than such feelings as belong to the relations of interest and amity that blend and bind us together. I am even less surprised at the belligerent sensibility which the Trent affair has awakened here, than with the pervading antecedent impression that our Government entertains hostile purposes towards England, and that our Secretary of State has actually designed the disruption of relations which I had supposed, and still believe, almost universally regarded as essential to the welfare of our country and the happiness of our people.

An alleged conversation of Secretary Seward with the Duke of Newcastle, referred to in The Times, conflicts with these assurances. Without precise information as to the language used by Mr. Seward, I cannot be mistaken in assuming that its spirit was misapprehended. The conversation occurred, I believe, at a dinner given by Governor Morgan to the Prince of Wales. The avowal of a prominent senator, who had reason to suppose that he might be called to a more responsible position in the Government, of a deliberate intention to "insult your (the Duke's) Government," could not but have been highly offensive. But while I can readily excuse an English nobleman for misinterpreting idle or "loose talk" in an American statesman, to all Americans the badinage of Mr. Seward would have been readily understood. Perhaps it would have been wiser not to attempt to "play with edged tools." Indeed, from the mischief an attempted pleasantry has occasioned, any departure from the gravities of conversation is certainly to be regretted. After disclaiming, as I feel quite authorized in doing, for Mr. Seward, unfriendly intentions and feelings towards England, I beg to refer such English gentlemen as have acquaintance with, or opportunities for consulting, Mr. Adams, our resident Minister, for a true reflex of American sentiment and sympathies. That distinguished statesman, whose eminent father and grandfather at different epochs represented our country - first at the Court of St. James's, and subsequently as President of the United States, - enjoys, in the best and broadest sense of the term, the confidence of his Government; and, resigning his seat in Congress to assume diplomatic responsibilities, he is also familiar with the views and feelings of our public men.

Until I saw the accusation against Secretary Seward standing out prominently in the London press the idea had not entered my mind, nor can I now persuade myself that it has any real foundation to stand upon. After the settlement of the Maine and Vancouver boundary questions, in their final action upon both of which the course of the English Government was characterized by enlightened justice and wisdom, I had supposed that no cause of misunderstanding remained, and that we might look forward to a long period of exemption from conflict or dissension. Subsequently incidental occasions for interchanges of national courtesies occurred calculated and tending to confirm and strengthen feelings of goodwill. These were succeeded by that memorable visit of the Prince of Wales, whose advent among us afforded to the American people an opportunity to mark, in heartfelt ovations, both their regard for the future monarch of Great Britain and their high estimate of, and their personal admiration for, a Queen whose eventful and illustrious reign, in advancing civilization, in promoting public and private virtue, and in hallowing household shrines, will enrich the archives and brighten the pages of England's history. I often thought, while witnessing, as I did, in several of our cities, the spontaneous demonstrations of unmistakable regard from hundreds of thousands of hearts warmed by remembrances of Saxon descent, that if all England could be "there to see", we should thenceforth as nations, dwell together in peace and friendship. In that triumphal journey, extending many thousand miles, through cities, towns, villages, hamlets, and wilderness, nothing occurred to jar its enjoyment. The American people, though enthusiastic, were considerate and respectful. The Prince, either from intuitive or inherited good sense and taste, while observing all the proprieties of his position, was so naturally gracious as to win nothing but "golden opinions," and to leave everywhere agreeable and enduring impressions; and even now, so universal is the homage of our people for the Queen, that were Her Majesty to deign us a visit, Earl Russell and Secretary Seward, were either or both of these eminent statesmen disposed to perpetrate a great national wrong, would find the bonds of affection stronger than ambition or strategy.

Upon the course which our Government shall deem wise or expedient in this abrupt emergency it is scarcely necessary to speculate. We shall not remain long in suspense. Nor could I add to the calm, well-considered views contained in the letter of Lieutenant-General Scott, in whom America has no more devoted patriot, nor England a more sincere friend. That distinguished and veteran General led our army creditably through one war with England. I, in humble positions, shared in that conflict; and I speak for both - enjoying the confidence and friendship of our great Chieftain - in saying that neither cares to survive another struggle so revolting to all who rejoice in a common ancestry and commingled blood, with kindred memorials and associations.

Of the exact nature of the despatch from the English Government I am ignorant; but, I am constrained to express the opinion, that if that despatch has taken the form of a peremptory demand it will be met by as peremptory a refusal; for in temper and pride we are as unreasoning as the bad examples of our mother country, absurdly intensified, can make us. But I devoutly hope that the mastiff mode of diplomacy will not, on either side, be resorted to. There are no real interests of either country to be promoted or protected by a contest for the championship. Nor is it necessary to determine questions of relative prowess or courage. The battle of Lundy's-lane [on 25 July 1814, one of the bloodiest battle of the war of 1812 took place in present-day Niagara Falls, Ontario], in Canada, fought upon a fair field, with forces nearly equal, which consigned the remains of 700 British and 700 American soldiers to "dead men's beds," should be accepted as a satisfactory solution by both nations. This Slidell and Mason imbroglio, which has been sprung upon us, places both Governments in false position. England is running upon all fours across the track of her life-long practices and precepts, while America is forced, in maintaining the act of Com. Wilkes, to ignore a policy earnestly insisted upon - a policy which, at the conclusion of the war of 1812, was left to be determined by the future good sense and forbearance of both Governments. In this "muddle," should either nation be too tenacious? I do not say or think that in this matter we have done quite right, or that we are wholly wrong. The temptations in this case were far greater than can be understood abroad. Messrs. Slidell and Mason were responsible leaders in the unnatural and causeless rebellion which set brother against brother in fierce and brutish civil war. As senators in the Congress of the United State, while unanimous millions supposed men incapable of such perfidy, they committed acts of treason far more flagrant than the offences which have consigned the heads of British noblemen, through the Tower, to the block. It will require, therefore, calm deliberation and a large measure of forbearance in our Government and people to bring them to an acquiescence in the views taken of this question here - views which, I am compelled to admit, have obtained across the Channel.

But if events are not precipitated; if time is given for reflection, so that the cost and consequences of war may be calculated, my apprehensions would be greatly relieved. I quite concur with the New York Tribune in the opinion that these rebel emissaries are not worth a war, and, individually, would not hesitate to make large concessions, in feeling, for peace. With England, whose canvass whitens every ocean and sea, "catching the dawning rays of the rising and mellowed by the departing beams of the setting sun," the honour of her flag is everything. In defence of this flag England, with her blood heated, will not sacrifice the "avoirdupois of a hair." Surely, then, if appealed to in a neighbourly spirit, we can afford to do for England what we should, touched in the same tender point, expect England to do for America.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
London, Dec. 12.
THURLOW WEED [1797-1882, New York newspaper publisher and Republican party politician].
Sa 14 December 1861It is very seldom in the present polite and decorous age that we are able to accumulate so much evidence of a deliberate and long-cherished intention to do us an injury as we are able to bring against Mr. Seward, the present Prime Minister of the Northern States of America. During the visit of the Prince of Wales to the United States, Mr. Seward took advantage of an entertainment which was given to the Prince and his suite to tell the Duke of Newcastle that he was likely to occupy high office, that when he did so it would become his duty to insult England, and that he should insult her accordingly. A few months after this sally Mr. Seward found himself in the position he had anticipated, a quarrel between North and South was imminent, and the advice which Mr. Seward tendered to the hostile parties was to abandon their dispute, and combine their forces in a wholly unprovoked attack upon the British colony of Canada. The next step of Mr. Seward was to publish a circular, calling upon the States to fortify the sea and lake frontier - a circular which was understood by everybody to refer to Great Britain, and was, indeed, capable of no other construction. An English packet is then boarded by an American ship of war, four passengers are removed from the packet by violence and placed at the disposal of the American Secretary of State. He orders them into strict confinement, without any diplomatic communication with the English Minister at Washington, and by so doing appears to adopt and ratify the action of the American commander. This is all we know at present of the feelings, intentions, and proceedings of Mr. Seward. But it is quite enough to lead to a general persuasion that upon his ability to involve the United States in a war with England Mr. Seward has staked his official, and, most probably, also his political existence, and that whatever may be the advantage to America of a war with this country to him it has become an article of the very first necessity. It is no business of ours to speculate on the motives or to enlarge upon the guilt of a man who has deliberately plotted, and, perhaps, by this time actually accomplished, this great crime, the greatest, perhaps, of which a human creature can be guilty, - the bringing war upon his own country and upon us, who have never wilfully or intentionally done him or it any evil. The facts are as we have stated them.

An American gentleman, Mr. Thurlow Weed, now resident in this country in a quasi diplomatic capacity, thinks it necessary, under these circumstances, to come forward in defence of Mr. Seward, and certainly we must admit no one ever stood more in need of an able and discreet apologist. Whether Mr. Seward has found such a person in Mr. Weed our readers will be better able to judge when they have read the letter with which he has favoured us. For ourselves, we must confess we have arrived at the conclusion that Mr. Weed has made the case of his client and his country considerably worse than he found it.

Mr. Weed begins by an admission that the present quarrel is an occurrence profoundly embarrassing. Not at all to us, we beg to say, for we never remember an instance where the line of duty was clearer or better defined; but profoundly embarrassing to Mr. Weed, because he is very much inclined to think that we are right in our view of the law, and that "in the ventilation of the case of Mr. Laurens the bottom has fallen out of the strongest precedent." Dropping, therefore, the legal question, Mr. Weed seeks to show that we are entirely in error in supposing that the American Government in general, and Mr. Seward in particular, is actuated by any ill-feeling towards us. That we should think so is to Mr. Weed even more wonderful than our "belligerent sensibility" with regard to the Trent. As for the conversation with the Duke of Newcastle, of which Mr. Weed says he knows nothing, he says it must have been a bad joke - that kind of agreeable badinage which passes after dinner between Dukes and embryo Secretaries of State. As to the chain of facts which connect this bad joke with what we fear will turn out to be a much worse earnest, Mr. Weed says nothing, but refers us to the present American Minister in London, Mr. Adams, as a true reflex of American sentiment towards England, the misfortune being that Mr. Adams, who has the goodwill, has not the power, and Mr. Seward, who has the power, has not the goodwill. Perhaps, thinking that something was yet wanting to the vindication of Mr. Seward, Mr. Weed proceeds to argue that he must be our friend, because, we having settled all our boundary disputes with the United States, there is nothing left to quarrel about. It would be exceedingly agreeable if Mr. Weed could convince his countrymen of this fact, and he will excuse us if we do not find, in his admission that there is nothing left to quarrel about, any palliation of the conduct of Mr. Seward in fastening a quarrel upon us. The Queen has won the respect and the Prince of Wales the regard of the American people, - good reasons why they should respect her Government, but surely no extenuation of conduct which our correspondent admits to be, in his view, a violation of the Law of Nations. If the Queen would only pay America a visit, there would be no chance of a rupture. But, then, the Queen most certainly will not pay America a visit, and we therefore derive but little comfort from this suggestion. After that indispensable appeal to our common ancestry which has hitherto availed us so little in dealing with our Transatlantic relatives, we come at last to the real point. Mr. Weed, who believes us to be in the right, and who has tantalized us with all this show of ardent affection, and who has proved so entirely to his satisfaction that the best feeling exists towards us in the American Government and people, informs us that if, relying on the right he admits and the affection he asserts, we demand that the persons who have been taken by violence from our protection be restored to us, we shall meet with a refusal. The affections of America may be lacerated, but once having begun to insult us, she will continue to do so. In his own pleasant, familiar way, Mr. Weed tells us that America is as unreasoning as the bad example of her mother country can make her. But if, instead of requiring as a preliminary to any further discussion the restoration of the captives, we are content to give the American people time for deliberation; if we are willing to forget that the discussion began by seizing the thing in dispute, and to recognize a debate commenced under such circumstances as having nothing in it either degrading or unusual; if, in fact, to use the expression current in America, we will enter into "protracted negotiations", there is reason to hope that America may yet relent, and condescend to the opinion that, after all, Slidell and Mason are not worth a war. We fear Mr. Weed in this is over-sanguine, and that, so long as America is allowed to retain what she has taken from us at the cheap price of an interminable correspondence, she will too keenly appreciate her own gain and our degradation to put an end to so agreeable an interlude.

But her forbearance will never be tried. We can, we think, convey to Mr. Thurlow Weed the sentiments of every Englishman on this painful subject. We do not ask from America courtesy or affection, respect for our Queen or regard for our Prince. These things are hers to give or to withhold. We do not even ask that amount of fair treatment which we are in the habit of receiving from other nations. We have long ago made up our minds to dispense with that; but we do demand that she shall abstain from actual outrage, or that, if it is committed, she shall make reasonable reparation. If she will do this, it is well; if not, the alternative will not come in the desired form of "protracted negotiation."

Sa 14 December 1861The Adelaide and Mauritius, two magnificent screw steamships, hired by Government for the transport of troops and war stores to North America, yesterday went up to Deptford to receive their troop fittings and provisions. At an early hour yesterday morning the non-commissioned officers and men of the Royal Engineers who have been selected for transfer to the 15th company were assembled on the parade-ground at Chatham, and after inspection were marched off to the railway station, whence they proceeded to Liverpool, at which port they will join the main body of the 15th company, from the Curragh, to embark on board the Persia, for Canada. The whole of the men at head-quarters turned out to witness the departure of their comrades, to whom they bade a hearty "farewell."
Ma 16 December 1861War Rumours and Probabilities. - In Liverpool, and no doubt in most seaports of the kingdom, much anxiety prevails with respect to what may be the result of the British demand for reparation of the insult committed on our flag by the forcible abduction of the Confederate Commissioners from the mail steamer Trent. In the meantime every reasonable preparation for the worst that can happen is being made with the thoughtfulness and intrepidity which becomes a great people. A notification has been made in the rooms of the Liverpool Underwriters' Association, that shipowners should instruct the captains of their outward-bound ships to communicate, by signal or otherwise, to any English vessel they may meet the information that war is probable between this country and America; and this suggestion is said to have been greatly approved. While private associations are thus taking precautionary suggestions, the Government is not by any means remiss. For some time past Liverpool has been in a state of lively excitement in observing the preparations made to meet the worst emergency which can arise out of the present complication. The splendid steamer Australasian was despatched from Liverpool on Friday evening, for Canada, carrying out 831 men of the 1st Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, under charge of Colonel Lord A. Russsell and 27 officers. She also took out 254 men and non-commissioned officers of the 4th Brigade of Artillery, under the charge of Captain Leslie. On Saturday the Royal Mail steamer Niagara sailed for Halifax, having on board Major-General Rumley, together with 350 men and 20 officers belonging to the Military Train. The Persia also, as has been previously stated, has been taken up and fitted as a transport, and this splendid vessel has now, for the first time, had four of her boats fitted with Clifford's patent lowering apparatus. Her first complement of troops is to consist of 1,100 men, of whom the 16th Regiment of Foot is to form the principal body; she will also take out 120 men of the Royal Engineers, under command of Captain M'Quay. Besides the troops mentioned, each of the vessels named also takes out a large amount of military and commissariat stores, amounting, it is said, to 380 tons each. The Persia and Australasian take of ordnance stores 500,000 rounds of ball cartridge, besides 100,000 rounds each for the troops. ln addition to the Liverpool steamers named, the Cleopatra, belonging to the African Royal Mail Steamship Company, has also been taken up by Government, and will, it is expected, have despatch in about a week. The Pacific Steam Navigation Company's new steamer Peru will, it is understood, in about 10 days sail from Liverpool, taking with her 60 sailors and 40 marines, as reinforcements to our squadron in the Pacific. The steamers Imperatrice, Imperador, and Bahiana have been ordered for survey by Government, and have also, it is said, been favourably reported on. It has been currently stated that the mail steamer America, which sailed from Liverpool on the 7th inst., was ordered to diverge on her route to New York, and to call at Halifax. In the present state of feeling the slightest incident is caught at as important.
Ma 16 December 1861

Reuter's telegrams.

Queenstown, Dec. 15.

The Royal Mail steamship Asia, from New York on the 4th inst., arrived here at 8 a.m. She brings 66 passengers.
She landed 90 sacks of mails and three passengers, and proceeded for Liverpool at 8 20 a.m.; all well.


The following is a summary of the Message delivered to-day by President Lincoln to the Federal Congress:-
"The disloyal citizens who offered the ruin of their country in return for foreign aid have received less encouragement than they expected. If no higher principles actuated foreign nations than the restoration of commerce, and especially the acquisition of cotton, they could reach their aim more easily by aiding to crush the rebellion than by encouraging it. Foreign nations must perceive that one strong nation produces more durable peace and more extensive commerce than the same nation broken into hostile factions.
"President Lincoln states that he will not review the discussion with the foreign States, because, whatever might be their wishes or disposition, the integrity of the country and the stability of the Government depend, not upon them, but on the loyalty and patriotism of the American people.
"'The foreign correspondence submitted to Congress will show that the Government has practised prudence and liberality towards foreign nations, averting the causes of irritation, but maintaining with firmness the rights and the honour of the country.
"'Since it is, however, apparent that foreign dangers necessarily attend domestic difficulties, Congress is urged to adopt ample measures for the coast, lake, and river defences, and it would be important for the national preservation to erect fortifications and depots of arms, and to make harbour and navigation improvements at well-selected points.'

"The Message recommends an appropriation to satisfy the legal demands of the owners of the British ship Perthshire, detained under a misapprehension by the United States' steamer Massachusetts.
"It also recommends that authority tie given to the commanders of sailing vessels to recapture United States' vessels or cargoes taken by pirates, and that the Consular Courts in eastern countries should adjudicate the cases, but only with the permission of the local authorities.
"The President cannot see any reason for further withholding the recognition of the independence of Hayti and Liberia. He urges upon Congress the reconstruction of the Supreme Courts and the adoption of a system for the recovery of debts by Northern men in districts where, through the insurrection, the civil tribunals are suppressed.
"He suggests the restoration of the original boundaries of the district of Columbia, including that portion on the Virginia side of the Potomac, and continues, - 'The efforts of the Government to suppress the slave trade have been recently unusually successful.

"'Under the Confiscation Act the legal claims of certain persons to slaves are forfeited, and numbers thus liberated are dependent upon the Federal Government, and must be protected, for it is possible that some States will pass similar enactments, by which persons of this class will be thrown upon them for disposal.
"'I would recommend Congress to provide for accepting slaves from such States according to some mode of valuation, so that the slaves on acceptance by the Federal Government would be at once deemed free. Steps might then be taken for colonizing such slaves in a climate congenial to them.
"'The free coloured people in America might also be included in such colonization.
"'The plan of colonization may involve an acquisition of territory, and the appropriation of a sum of money beyond the sum expended for the territorial acquisition.'

"President Lincoln reviews the course of the Government since its inauguration, and says: -
"'The progress of events is plainly in the right direction. Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, who refused to supply troops now have 40,000 men in the field.
"'No armed insurrection is left north of the Potomac or east of the Chesapeake. The Union is advancing steadily southwards.
"'The present insurrection is a war upon the first principles of popular government and the right of the people. "' The insurgents even hint at Monarchy.'

"The President states that in the present position he would scarcely be justified in omitting to raise a warning voice against the approach of returning despotism, but denounces the effort to place capital upon an equal footing with labour in the structure of the Government.
"' The struggle of to-day is not altogether of today, but is also for a vast future.'"

President Lincoln's Message makes no allusion whatever to the Trent affair.

The following is the text of that portion of President Lincoln's Message to Congress which refers to the foreign policy of the Federal Government:-
"You will not be surprised to hear that in the peculiar exigencies of the times our intercourse with foreign nations has been attended with profound solicitude, chiefly turning upon our own domestic affairs. A nation which endures factions and domestic divisions is exposed to disrespect abroad, and one party, if not both, is sure, sooner or later, to invoke foreign intervention.
"The disloyal citizens of the United States, who have offered the ruin of our country in return for the aid and comfort which they have invoked abroad, have received less patronage and encouragement than they probably expected.
"The insurgents have seemed to assume that foreign nations, in this case (discarding all moral, social, and treaty obligations), would act solely and selfishly for the most speedy restoration of commerce, including especially the acquisition of cotton; but those nations appear as yet not to have seen their way to their object more directly or clearly through the destruction than through the preservation of the Union.
"I am quite sure a second argument could be made to show them that they can reach their aim much more readily and easily by aiding to crush this rebellion than by giving encouragement to it.
"The principal lever relied on by the insurgents for exciting foreign nations to hostilities against us is the embarrassment of commerce.
"Those nations, however, not improbably saw from the first that it was the Union which made as well our foreign as our domestic commerce. They can scarcely have failed to perceive that the efforts for disunion produce the existing difficulty, and that one strong nation promises more durable peace and a more extensive, more valuable, and more reliable commerce than can the same nation broken into hostile fragments.
"It is not my purpose to review our discussion with foreign States, because, whatever might be their wishes or dispositions, the integrity of our country and the stability of our Government mainly depend, not upon them, but on the loyalty, virtue, patriotism, and allegiance of the American people.
"Since, however, it is apparent that foreign dangers necessarily attend domestic difficulties, I recommend that adequate and ample measures be adopted for maintaining the public defences on every side, and also that provision be made for defending our coast line."

The New York Herald of the 4th inst. says that the President's Message forms a good chart of sailing directions for Congress, and that by it both Houses can scarcely go astray.
The Tribune praises President Lincoln for the moderation shown in his Message.

NEW YORK, Dec. 3, Evening.

The Federal Navy Department has expressed it emphatic approval of the capture of Messrs. Mason and Slidell.
It also states that Captain Wilkes displayed too much forbearance in not capturing the Trent, but that this must not form a precedent for any future similar infraction of neutral obligations by foreign commercial vessels.
Ma 16 December 1861


Sir, - The courtesy I have always met with in your columns induces me to trouble you with the following re. marks, which I have written from a strong sense of duty to the country.

Should England most unfortunately find it necessary to go to war with the Northern States, to prove to the world that the honour and dignity of the nation will he upheld at all hazards, I take it that the people of this country would wish to teach the lesson in a short, sharp, decisive manner and with as little cost of blood and treasure as possible. I have noticed with regret that the tone of the press is to undervalue our probable antagonists; but there never was a greater mistake, the Americans especially have shown their energy and activity in war; and history moreover teaches us that a Republic even in its direst extremity proved itself the most formidable of foes. Add to this the well-known fact that the Northern seaboard is perhaps the most dangerous and stormy in the world, and I think it will readily be admitted that we must enter upon an American war with all the caution and care the gravity of the case demands.

Your paper, it may fairly be presumed, gives us the most authentic information of the movements and preparations now being made in contemplation of a war with the Federal States. A perusal of the naval intelligence convinces me that our late experience gained in war with so much cost is already lost, and that our Crimean mistakes will probably be again committed unless this time we act in accordance with that wise old saying, "Prevention is better than cure."

I observe that none but heavy ships, of considerable draught of water, are brought forward to meet the probable contingencies which may only too soon arise. A fleet of that class of vessels is the last needed, - no doubt eminently useful to protect our mercantile marine, to capture the Federalist blockading force, and to raise the blockade of the Southern States; but for the effectual shutting up of the Federal ports they are next to useless, and small vessels must be employed. The gunboat is essential, and I hope will be brought forward at once, and not allowed to lie idle until the time is past for doing good service.

We are already priding ourselves on our fleet, and no doubt we have enough material to strike a decisive blow at the very outset of the coming war. That blow ought to be at one stroke as follows:-
1. The capture of the Federal squadron.
2. The taking of each and every Federalist ship all over the world (instructions to be ready for which seizure ought, long before this, to have been sent to every naval station on the globe, - telegraphed, of course, where practicable).
3. The complete occupation of San Juan, Vancouver.
4, Close blockade of both Atlantic and Pacific seaboard of the Federal States, with the destruction of every particle of war material, by a force of gunboats, which could and would invest every hole and corner along the entire coast.

Such a blow, which we have the spirit and power of striking, only wants a system and an organization to insure the desired effect, and if we are only equal to such a system and organization there is no doubt the proceedings I have sketched would bring our antagonists to their senses quickly, cheaply, and effectually.

I cannot conclude without remarking on the doubts and fears expressed about the ascent of the St. Lawrence; every one is in the dark. Does the country quite forget that she possesses a trained body of ice officers well versed in all that pertains to a successful contest with that element? How is it, then, that the opinion of some of our experienced officers has not been obtained as to the state of that river? How is it that the services of such officers have not been secured to point out practically the use of the ice saws and other appliances which it is rumoured have been supplied to the Melbourne, but which will, I suspect, share the fate of the green coffee of the Crimea?

I am. Sir, your obedient servant,
Junior United Service Club, Dec. 13.
Tu 17 December 1861The 18th company Royal Engineers (Capt. Hewitt's), which has been recalled to Portsmouth from the Isle of Wight, is ordered to embark during the present week on board the Parana steamship at Southampton, for conveyance to British North America. Several lighters have been despatched from the Royal Clarence Victualling-yard at Gosport, with stores and provisions to Southampton for the use of the troops on board the chartered steamships. The War Department at Portsmouth are working extra hours and up to 2 p.m. on Sunday, in preparing stores, &c., for the troops. All the Dockyard Departments are also working extra hours to hurry forward the ships preparing for sea.

The heavy baggage belonging to the 1st battalion Military Train, at Woolwich, in command of Major Hill, was yesterday packed in readiness for the hasty departure of the battalion for embarcation at Southampton on board the Adriatic, for Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Adriatic also takes out Capt. Gabbett's No. 4 battery, 10th Garrison Brigade, Royal Artillery, now in readiness for departure from Woolwich.

A War-office telegram was yesterday received at Woolwich Arsenal ordering the preparation for shipment of 10 Armstrong 100-pounder guns to be embarked with the earliest despatch for the sea and land defences of Halifax, and a report was ordered to be transmitted by the authorities of the dockyard to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, stating what ships would be available for their transport. A measurement having been made of the vacant storeage room on board Her Majesty's steam sloop Devastation, Commander MCrea, under orders for British North America, an answer was returned to the effect that the Devastation could stow away six of the guns, together with their slides, carriages, shot, &c,, and the fore hold, now appropriated for the ship's provisions, would secure the ammunition. The Devastation yesterday bent sails, and will leave the basin at Woolwich this morning for the river, to await the decision of the Admiralty. Orders have been transmitted to the laboratory for the manufacture of 10,000,000 rounds of small arms' cartridges and 100,000 charges of Armstrong 100-pounder ammunition for sea service. The preparation of the various descriptions of gun carriages, principally 100-pounders, is likewise ordered to be increased. The work is consequently to be continued night and day until further orders.

In addition to the non-commissioned officers wad men of the Royal Engineers transferred from the companies at Chatham to those about to embark for Canada, orders have been received at head-quarters, directing 45 men to be selected from the depot and other companies to augment the 4th Company at Dover, which, is the next to be despatched to British North America.

The greatest activity is now observable at the Royal Engineer establishment, Chatham, in the instruction of the officers and men of the Royal and Indian Engineers in the several branches of engineering operations. Advantage is taken of every hour of fine weather to assemble the Engineers on the field-works in order to expedite the instruction of the men in the formation of batteries and earth works, &c., information having been received that the demand for well-trained engineers will be very great for some time to come. In order to strengthen this branch of the service additional recruiting parties will be despatched from head-quarters to obtain young men accustomed to some trade or profession, well skilled mechanics, photographers, electricians, telegraphists, and surveyors being now in request for the corps. Volunteering has also been reopened from the various regiments of the line.

In accordance with orders received at Chatham, the War Department transport Bomarsund has shipped a number of camp equipages and tents, together with 2,000 blankets from the stores at Chatham, with which she proceeds to Woolwich, for the use of the troops now being despatched to Canada.
Tu 17 December 1861


The Naval Reserve enrolled in the ports of Whitehaven, Maryport, and Peterhead, have, like their brother sailors in other ports, spontaneously signified their offers of service to the Inspecting Commanders of Coastguard in the following letters:-

"Whitehaven, Dec. 5, 1861.
"Sir, - We, the seamen of the Royal Naval Reserve in this port, have heard with indignation that our flag has been insulted by an American ship of war, and we write this to let you know that we are ready to fulfil our engagement and protect the honour of our flag, our good Queen, and country, whenever called upon to do so.
"(Signed on behalf of the men of the Royal Naval Reserve, 38 in number.)
"To Captain Comber, Inspecting Commander, Coastguard."

"Maryport, Dec. 7,1861.
"Sir, - We, the undersigned members of the Royal Naval Reserve at Maryport, do hereby signify to you our services in any action taken by the Government to avenge the insults offered to our flag, in the event of the American Government refusing to make the necessary reparation and apology for the stopping of the Trent and arrest of some passengers on board.
"(Signed by all the Reserve, 20 in number.)
"To Captain Comber, Inspecting Commander, Coastguard,"

"Peterhead, Dec. 10,1861.
"Sir, - We, the undersigned men, enrolled in the Royal Naval Reserve in the port of Peterhead, considering that a most wanton and unjustifiable insult has been perpetrated by the commander of the war-ship San Jacinto, belonging to the Federal Government of America, on the British flag, hereby most cordially make offer of our services, should Her Most Gracious Majesty see fit, by Royal proclamation, to call for them.
"(Signed by 73 Royal Naval Reserve Men.)
"To Commander Mould, R.N., Inspecting Commander, Coastguard, Aberdeen."

Th 19 December 1861A notice has been posted at the entrance gates of Portsmouth dockyard for the entry of an additional number of shipwrights, caulkers, and labourers. Work is being pushed to the utmost in every department of the yard to complete the outfit of the ships ordered to be prepared for sea, the officers for which, it is stated, have been named by the Admiralty, from the captain downwards, their crews being held in readiness to send on board at an hour's notice should their services be suddenly required. The military store department and the Royal Clarence victualling yard have also both been taxed to an extraordinary degree during the past week, having had, in addition to the ordinary, or rather extraordinary, duties of the port consequent upon the war preparations, to supply the necessary provisions, bedding, and stores required for the troops ordered to embark at Southampton.
Th 19 December 1861


Sir, - In May, 1859,I addressed two letters to The Times on the subject of defending the ports and harbours of this country by adapting ferryboats, tugboats, and coasting vessels for service as gunboats. On the 7th of July following I wrote to the Admiralty, submitting my plan to them, but more in detail than in the letters addressed to The Times. The Admiralty instructed Captain Mends, R.N., and Mr. Luke, surveyor in the Controller of the Navy's Department, to report upon the proposal.

The reports of both these officers were of the most favourable character, as is shown in a Parliamentary paper containing the whole of the correspondence and reports, ordered by the House of Commons to be printed on the 30th of July, 1860.

The very defenceless state of the river Mersey in case of war taking place between this country and America is at this moment exciting great interest in this neighbourhood, and, considering the large amount of valuable property in Liverpool and on board the ships in its docks, some steps must undoubtedly be taken, and very promptly, to prevent a chance of surprise, or the damage that would be caused by even one enemy's vessel successfully entering the river.

I again bring my proposal before the public, as, if adopted, we may have on the Mersey, at a moderate cost, 40 or 50 auxiliary gunboats in the course of a few weeks; and they could be easily, efficiently, and economically manned by the crews at present working on board these vessels, aided by the numerous Artillery Volunteers, retired seamen, flatmen, boatmen, and others, - a class of men who would not volunteer for service abroad in Her Majesty's Navy.

Requesting the favour of your inserting this communication, I am, Sir, your obedient servant.

Birkenhead, Dec. 17.
Th 19 December 1861



The embarcation of the first portion of the troops appointed to leave this port for service in Canada took place this afternoon. Previous to their arrival the Adriatic and the Parana were inspected by Colonel Somerset, accompanied, by Captain Patey, R.N., the Admiralty Superintendent at Southampton, and other officers. It was only a week ago that these vessels were officially accepted for this service, and the expedition with which they have been got ready for sea is highly creditable to all parties concerned. They have been completely fitted for officers and men, coaled, and supplied with water, &c, and an immense quantity of stores shipped, including three mouths' provisions for both troops and crew.

Shortly after 3 o'clock a special train arrived from Woolwich, bringing the No. 4 battery, 10th brigade, Royal Artillery, and also the 1st battalion Military Train. They were met at the terminus by the fine band of the 2d Hants (Southampton) Rifle Volunteers, and as soon as the Artillery had formed in marching order they proceeded from the station to the docks, the bands at their head, and marched direct on board the Adriatic steamer. The band immediately returned to the terminus, and paid a similar fraternal compliment to the Military Train. The battery of artillery is under the command of Captain H.P. Gabbett, the other officers being Captain H.S. Elliot, Lieutenants W.H. King Harman, G.A. Prench, and E. Bradley, Assistant-Surgeon F.R. Hogg, with seven sergeants, four corporals, two trumpeters, and 100 gunners. The Military Train consists of 300 non-commissioned officers and men, under command of Major Hill, the other officers being Major Johns, Captains Buller and Harris; Lieutenants Lane, Williams, Clarke, Benthall, and Roberts; Ensigns Crawford and Winckworth, Lieutenant and Adjutant Cummin, Paymaster Bryson, Quartermaster Mitchell, and Surgeon Fox, with two staff clerks. The whole of the troops marched direct on board the steamer, and were all safely housed within half an hour after their arrival in the docks. Thousands of people were assembled on the quays, who enthusiastically cheered the brave fellows as they passed along.

The 18th. company Royal Engineers, 120 in number, also arrived in two divisions, and embarked on board the Parana which was lying at another part of the docks. The first party, consisting of 53 men, under Lieutenant Heriot MaitIand, arrived from Chatham about half-past 1, and the other, comprising 67 men, commanded by Captain Edward Osborne Hewitt, with Lieutenant Tovey and Sievewright, arrived from Portsmouth about 3 o'clock. These gallant servants of their country were also welcomed with a share of the popular enthusiasm as they proceeded to the steamer which will carry them across the Atlantic.

To-morrow (Thursday) the 1st battalion of the Grenadier Guards, who go out in the Adriatic, and the 2d battalion of the Scots Fusileer Guards, who ship in the Parana, are expected to arrive here and embark about 11 o'clock. Generalised Frederick Paulet, in command of the Grenadiers and his staff, also go out in the Adriatic. The two vessels will go out of dock immediately after the embarcation, and probably proceed to sea the same night or early on Friday morning.

The Magdalena has nearly completed her equipment for sea, and will, it is expected, embark the main body of her troops on Friday,
Th 19 December 1861Defences of Liverpool. - A " Shipowner" writes to the Liverpool Albion as follows:- "Now that we are spending about a million of money in preparations for war, it may be well to consider in what position Liverpool stands for repelling an attack in the event of a wrestle with America. That some adventurous Yankee, ready to sacrifice everything for fame and the credit of doing a 'smart thing,' would 'guess' his way into Liverpool some dark night, and by means of rockets and inflammable shells endeavour to fire the shipping, is a probability that must not be overlooked. Naval men of experience have spoken with scorn of our two principal batteries - the Rock Perch and North Fort - and have expressed an opinion that a heavy frigate, moving under steam, would speedily render them untenable. The Rock Perch Battery is being improved by the displacing of the old guns and the mounting of heavier ordnance, including a 100-pounder Armstrong (formerly the guns were en barbette now they are en embrasure). But after all these improvements the gunners are exposed to any shell which may explode in the quadrangle. It is true that some protection might be afforded the gunners by the erection of earthworks in rear of the guns. The guns in the North Fort are old 68 and 32 pounders, which, have already seen more than enough service, some of them indeed having been declared dangerous. Their range, moreover, is extremely limited, owing to the position of the battery. Then we have the earthwork battery at Liscard, which, according to rumour, having been built upon an unstable foundation, is in a shaky condition; it is also mounted with old ordnance. No doubt, in the event of war, the Government would send us some block-ships; but as that class of vessel is somewhat unhandy, and, would probably be placed at the entrance of the river, and not in the channel, they would, after all, be of comparatively little service in preventing the approach of vessels the long-range guns of which might inflict damage from a distance. Captain Inglefield, R.N., of Her Majesty's ship Majestic, I believe, recently expressed an opinion to this effect. Then, again, we have Mr. Laird's proposal to arm the river boats, which, no doubt, would be manned by Volunteer Artillery. To complete the defences of the port we require not only the batteries which are to be erected on the dock quays, but earthworks at Crosby and New Brighton, which, mounted with the heaviest ordnance, would command the Crosby Channel. Liverpool, fortunately, has, among her other Volunteers, a large body of Engineers, well officered, and comprising a number of able-bodied men, accustomed to construction, and who, I am convinced, are willing to respond to the call, if the Government would only intimate its wish for their services in throwing up batteries at Crosby, and, if also necessary, along the shore from the end of the dock quay. Our engineers should not let this opportunity pass of showing their patriotism and their ability to do what they undertook when enrolled. At present there are a very large number of labourers out of employment, and they might be employed with advantage on these works. There will be no lack of artillery to occupy the fortifications when ready for service." This subject, which has already occupied considerable attention, and which a year or two ago was thought of sufficient importance to call for the attention of a special committee of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, has again been brought prominently under the notice of that board. It is understood that a special meeting of that body will be held, to-day to adopt measures in relation to it.
Ma 23 December 1861Admiralty instructions were received on Saturday directing the whole of the screw gunboats, attached to the first division of the steam reserve at Chatham, to be removed from the several ports on the Medway for immediate service. Instructions were also received from the Admiralty for a report to be made to the Controller of the Navy of the names and number of the gunboats attached to the reserve at Chatham which can be brought forward to replace those removed. The screw gunboats attached to the first division of the steam service, all of which are armed with two Armstrong pivot guns on the upper deck, and fully equipped for sea, are the Bullfrog, the Cochin, the Britomart, the Griper, the Carnation, the Julia, and the Sandfly. Each of the above gunboats is of very light draught, and will therefore prove of the utmost advantage in ascending shallow rivers, while, from their lightness and the easy way in which they can be handled, they may be placed in positions impracticable to a frigate or even a 21-gun corvette. The other gunboats attached to the reserve at Chatham are the Mistletoe, the Spanker, the Herring, the Sepoy, and the Snipe, which belong to the second division and all of which could be made ready for sea in a very short time. The flotilla of gunboats attached to the third division of the steam reserve in the Medway are the Manly, the Mastiff, the Fidget, the Thrasher, the Pelter, the Tickler, the Spey, the Thistle, the Dwarf, the Linnet, the Pigeon, and the Phoenix. In addition to the above there is a large squadron of mortar-boats lying in Yantlett-creek, besides a number of iron mortar-boats hauled up at Chatham Dockyard, all of which a very short time would suffice to make ready for active service.
Tu 24 December 1861Navigators tell us that there is an area in the middle of a circling hurricane where all is calm and peace. To the well tutored eye there are signs which show what wild weather reigns all around. Fish and seaweed are cast down upon the deck, mists and darkness bound the stinted prospect, the waves have not their accustomed roll, but the waters are almost preternaturally calm, and in the gunroom and the cockpit and between decks all is as quiet as if the good ship were crossing the Line or sailing away leisurely before a light, warm trade-wind. Such was the state of Washington on the 9th of this present December. "All is quiet along our lines." "The river blockade still continues." "Reviews go on with their accustomed regularity." "The weather is wonderfully warm." The only bit of news to stir the monotony of the ice-eaters was that Mr. Sickles was working away on board the Pensacola, which lay motionless off Alexandria [Frederick Ellsworth Sickles, 1819-1895, inventor of the Sickles cut-off valve, had provided, for a large sum, the engines for this US Navy Steam sloop, but they did not work, and the Navy refused to let him off the ship until he got them running]. So, also, at New York everything seems to have been as still as in the days of Walter the Doubter [a fictionalised governor of New York during the early Dutch period of the city, invented by the author Washington Irving, 1783-1859]. But that the report of Mr. Chase [Salmon Portland Chase, 1808-1873, United States Treasury Secretary] had supplied some topics for conversation among the bankers who are expected to supply the money, we might imagine that the old times had come back again when the comfortable burgomasters measured the time by the periodical filling of their pipes. Nay, we are told by the veracious historian that the Dutch did then meet in some alarm at the prospect of a war with England, and solemnly decide in full conclave to destroy the British fleet by public contract; whereas, in this December, 1861, the people of New York were luxuriating in the indifference engendered by a long impunity, and were as little mindful that they had outraged the honour of Old England as if they had merely kicked a cur out of their path, or had pushed a Negro from the pavement of the Broadway.

If we had to deal with a country where the direction of the State is in the hands of the thoughtful, the educated, or even the rich, we should have no misgiving as to the temper with which Washington and New York have endured the surprise that has already come upon them. And, even remembering that the masses of mankind in Federal America dictate the policy of the nation, we still cannot resign ourselves to the belief that a mob can be so ignorant as to call in upon them those tremendous powers which are already in action near them. No passion can so entirely banish reason as to leave nothing to prudence. If there be many who, as our Correspondent says, worship the Union with the senseless affection with which a Pagan worships his idol, they must see that the last unlikely chance for their brittle god is peace with England. If there be a merchant or banker in New York who sees a hope of safety through the chaos of financial disaster which Mr. Chase has just exhibited, he must know that little hope hangs solely upon peace with England. If there is a statesman who believes that event the existing Federal States will remain without subdivision, the condition of that belief must be peace with England. In peace or in a war, to prosecute an attempt at subjugation or to negotiate an advantageous treaty of partition, the essential necessity of the Federal Government still is peace with England. Mr. Lincoln must know this right well, Mr. Seward must be thoroughly convinced of it, and none know it better than that base portion of the press of New York which so powerfully plays the game of the South by hounding on the populace of the North to violence and fury. It is Scarcely conceivable that even the rabble of the Atlantic cities can be blind to such self-evident facts. They have the credit of being shrewd, if not very scrupulous or very conscientious, and, if they are worthy even of the credit of shrewdness, they cannot but see that, in order to carry out any project they may have, they also must take care to preserve peace with England.

A State paper which we publish to-day will arrive opportunely at Washington to offer an honourable path out of a great difficulty. A few sanguine people, in the overweening pride of their benevolence, have been pressing us to refer the insult we have received to arbitration. Their prayers are answered before they could have hoped for such a fruition. The arbitration has already been entertained, and the award has gone out contemporaneously with our demand. If we could possibly have so abated ourselves as to put our national honour out of our own guardianship, to whom would it have been possible to refer such a question but to a nation great as ourselves, sensitive of renown, and enlightened upon all the punctilios which are the laws and safeguards of international comity? If we could have named an arbitrator beyond the suspicion of partiality towards ourselves, whom could we have chosen but the one nation which has always been our rival upon the seas and the vehement opponent of our former claims to exclusive Maritime Empire? Well, that nation has entertained this case uninvited by us; and, there being no facts in dispute, has, with the authority of a great and impartial position, enounced the law. France has spoken unanimously. She has spoken by her press, which upon this matter has been singularly undivided; by her jurists, who had already achieved reputation and authority far beyond her frontiers; and, lastly, by a solemn national act| of State. The despatch of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs is conclusively argued, and the deduction is not only logical, but decisive. M. Thouvenel Edouard Antoine de Thouvenel, 1818-1866, Minister of Foreign Affairs] points out that, whatever be the claims of the Federal Government, whether to treat the persons who were seized as belligerents or as rebels, the pretension to seize them upon a neutral ship trading from neutral port to neutral port is equally illegal and offensive. The whole question is summed up with so much conciseness that it needs no abstract, and the decision is given in a few lines:-
"Lord Lyons is already charged to present the demand for satisfaction which the English Cabinet is under the necessity of making, and which consists in the immediate release of the persons taken from the Trent, and explanations which shall relieve the act of the captain of the San Jacinto from its offensive character to the British flag. The Federal Government would be inspired by a just and elevated sentiment in yielding to these demands. It is impossible to conceive any object or any interest that it could have to run the risk of provoking a rupture with Great Britain by assuming a different attitude."

It is always satisfactory to have our own impressions as to the righteousness of our cause confirmed by the testimony of impartial lookers-on; but this communication from the French Government is chiefly welcome to us, inasmuch as it offers to the Cabinet of Washington an excuse for abandoning the position in which it has so wantonly placed itself. Under the pressure of this adverse opinion, it may retire with less difficulty than it could before the alternative of force which it was necessary for our self-respect to put before it. There will be less humiliation in redressing a wrong which impartial bystanders have determined to be undoubtedly a wrong. If, after this advice, Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward should insist upon adopting the piratical deed of their agent, it must be in the pursuit of some object which is too discreditable to be avowed, and which requires a war with this country as a means. If such an object should exist, no moderation on our part can avoid a quarrel wilfully and persistently forced upon us; but, with the French Minister, we must confess that we cannot see any advantage which the Federal Government could possibly obtain by such a war. If the coming packet does not either bring Slidell and Mason or news of their speedy surrender, the only conclusion we can draw is that the madness premonitory of ruin has already fallen upon the Federal Republic.
Tu 24 December 1861Captain Wilkes, of the San Jacinto, had made the following report to the Secretary of the Navy respecting the Trent affair:-

"United States' steamer San Jacinto, at Sea, Nov. 16.
"Sir, - ln my despatch by Commander Taylor I confined myself to the reports of the movements of this ship and the facts connected with the capture of Messrs. Mason, Slidell, Eustis, and Macfarland, as I intended to write you particularly relative to the reasons which induced my action in making these prisoners. When I heard at Cienfuegos, on the south side of Cuba, of these Commissioners having landed on the Island of Cuba, and that they were at Havannah, and would depart in the English steamer of the 7th of November, I determined to intercept them, and carefully examined all the authorities on international law to which I had access - viz., Kent, Wheaton, Vattel, besides various decisions of Sir William Scott and other judges of the Admiralty Court of Great Britain, which bore upon the rights of neutrals, and their responsibilities. The Governments of Great Britain, France, and Spain having issued proclamations that the Confederate States were viewed, considered, and treated as belligerents, and knowing that the ports of Great Britain, France, Spain, and Holland, in the West Indies, were open to their vessels, and that they were admitted to all the courtesies and protection vessels of the United States received, every aid and attention being given them, proved clearly that they acted upon this view and decision, and brought them within the international law of search, and under the responsibilities. I therefore felt no hesitation in boarding and searching all vessels of whatever nation I fell in with, and have done so. The question arose in my mind whether I had the right to capture the persons of these Commissioners - whether they were amenable to capture. There was no doubt I had the right to capture vessels with written despatches; they are expressly referred to in all authorities, subjecting the vessel to seizure and condemnation if the captain of the vessel had the knowledge of their being on board; but these gentlemen were not despatches in the literal sense, and did not seem to come under that designation, and nowhere could l find a case in point. That they were Commissioners I had ample proof from their own avowal, and bent on mischievous and traitorous errands against our country - to overthrow its institutions and enter into treaties and alliances with foreign States, expressly forbidden by the Constitution. They had been presented to the Captain-General of Cuba by Her Britannic Majesty's Consul-General, but the Captain-General told me he had not received them in that capacity, but as distinguished gentlemen and strangers. I then considered them as the embodiment of despatches, and as they had openly declared themselves as charged with all authority from the Confederate Government to form treaties and alliances tending to the establishment of their independence, I became satisfied that their mission was adverse and criminal to the Union, and it therefore became my duty to arrest their progress and capture them, if they had no passports or papers from the Federal Government, as provided for under the law of nations -viz., 'That foreign Ministers of a belligerent on board of neutral ships are required to possess papers from the other belligerent to permit them to pass free'. Report and assumption gave them the title of Ministers to France and England, but inasmuch as they had not been received by either of these Powers, I did not conceive they had immunity attached to their persons, and were but escaped conspirators plotting and contriving to overthrow the Government of the United States, and they were therefore not to be considered as having any claim to the immunities attached to the character they thought fit to assume. As respects the steamer in which they embarked, I ascertained in the Havannah that she was a merchant vessel plying between Vera Cruz, the Havannah, and St. Thomas, carrying the mail by contract. The agent of the vessel, the son of the British Consul at Havannah, was well aware of the character of these persons, that they engaged their passage and did embark in the vessel; his father had visited them, and introduced them as Ministers of the Confederate States, on their way to England and France. They went in the steamer with the knowledge and consent of the captain, who endeavoured afterwards to conceal them by refusing to exhibit the passenger list and the papers of the vessel. There can be no doubt he knew they were carrying highly important despatches, and were endowed with instructions inimical to the United States, This rendered his vessel, a neutral, a good prize; and I determined to take possession of her, and, as I mentioned in my report, send her to Key West for adjudication, where I am well satisfied she would have been condemned for carrying these persons and for resisting to be searched; the cargo was also liable, as all the shippers were knowing to the embarcation of these live despatches and their traitorous motives and actions to the Union of the United States. I forbore to seize her, however, in consequence of my being so reduced in officers and crew, and the derangement it would cause innocent persons, there being a large number of passengers who would have been put to great loss and inconvenience, as well as disappointment, from the interruption it would have caused them in not being able to join the steamer from St. Thomas for Europe. I, therefore, concluded to sacrifice the interests of my officers and crew in the prize, and suffered the steamer to proceed after the necessary detention to effect the transfer of these Commissioners, considering I had obtained the important end I had in view, and which affected the interests of our country and interrupted the action of that of the Confederates. I would add that the conduct of Her Britannic Majesty's subjects, both official and others, showed but little regard or obedience to her proclamation, by aiding and abetting the views and endeavouring to conceal the persons of the Commissioners. I have pointed out sufficient reasons to show you that my action in this case was derived from a firm conviction that it became my duty to make these parties prisoners, and to bring them to the United States. Although in my giving up this valuable prize I have deprived the officers and crew of a well-earned reward, I am assured they are quite content to forego any advantages which might have accrued to them under the circumstances. I may add that, having assumed the responsibility, I am willing to abide the result.
"I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy."

The following is a copy of the orders issued by Captain. Wilkes, of the San Jacinto, to Lieutenant Fairfax, executive officer of that vessel, for the arrest of Messrs. Mason and Slidell:-

"United States' Steamer San Jacinto, at Sea, Nov. 8.
"Sir, - You will have the second and third cutters of this ship fully manned and armed, and be, in all respects, prepared to board the steamer Trent, now hove to under our guns. On boarding her you will demand the papers of the steamer, her clearance from Havannah, with the list of passengers and crew. Should Mr. Mason, Mr. Slidell, Mr. Eustis, and Mr. Macfarland be on board, you will make them prisoners, and send them on board this ship immediately, and take possession of her as a prize. I do not deem it will be necessary to use force - that the prisoners will have the good sense to avoid any necessity for using it; but, if they should, they must be made to understand that it is their own fault. They must be brought on board. All trunks, cases, packages, and bags belonging to them you will take possession of and send on board this ship. Any despatches found on the persons of the prisoners, or in possession of those on board the steamer, will be taken possession of also, examined, and retained if necessary, I have understood that the families of these gentlemen may be with them; if so, I beg you will offer some of them, in my name, a passage in this ship to the United States; and that all the attention and comforts we can command are tendered them, and will be placed at their service. In the event of their acceptance, should there be anything which the captain of the steamer can spare to increase the comforts, in the way of necessaries or stores, of which a war vessel is deficient, you will please to procure them; the amount will be paid by the paymaster. Lieutenant James A. Green will take charge of the third cutter, which accompanies you, and will assist you in these duties. I trust that all those under your command, in executing the important and delicate duty will conduct themselves with all the delicacy and kindness which becomes the character of our naval service.
"I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"Lieutenant D.M. Fairfax, United States Navy, Executive Officer, San Jacinto"
We 25 December 1861In the event of a war with America we should suddenly find ourselves engaged in hostilities with a powerful and adventurous people, strong in maritime resources, and participating in our own national familiarity with the risks and dangers of the deep. Such an enemy is not to be held cheap. It is quite true that the Americans have at present no fleet which could pretend to cope with the Royal Navy of England, and we may even say, perhaps, that they have hardly a single vessel which could be matched for speed and armament against the best specimens of the same class from our own squadrons. The supremacy of the seas, therefore, in a general sense, would certainly be ours; and it is equally certain that we could blockade all the chief ports of the Federal States without the slightest difficulty. But the Americans possess maritime resources of no ordinary kind, and they are second to none in the skill with which they can employ them. The Northern States are full of building-yards, and abound with timber and all other materials required in naval arsenals. We may depend upon it that our adversaries will lose not a moment after the declaration of war in pressing forward the construction and equipment of cruisers, and it must be expected that many of these vessels will, as in the last war, elude the blockade and prowl about the ocean in quest of prey. They may hope, in any case, to snap up our merchantmen and derange our commerce, but the more adventurous spirits among them may not improbably fly at higher game. It is quite possible that while England is ruling undisputed mistress of the waves a Yankee frigate may appear some fine morning off one of our ports and inflict no slight damage upon us before anything could be done to stop her. We have a long coast line to defend, and our enterprising enemy might quietly mark out his point of attack, and try the chances of the adventure. It would be rather a desperate service, no doubt, but it is precisely by such exploits that the Americans would attempt to establish a reputation, and redress the balance of loss and gain in the incidents of the war.

We happen, it is true, at the present time, to be unusually well prepared for such contingencies. Our coast defences have been reorganized, our fortifications have been greatly strengthened and extended, and our ordnance as well as our navy has been reconstructed. We have a very large flotilla of gunboats especially fitted for service on our own coasts, and we have an efficient Naval Reserve fully competent to meet the demand for seamen. Besides this, in every maritime county we have Militia Artillery, and we have also Volunteer Artillery, and even Volunteer Engineers. There is not a port in the kingdom but has recently taken thought how to defend itself against attack. At many points new batteries have been thrown up and new guns mounted, while the local Artillery is always at hand to turn these defences to account. These are incalculable advantages, but it still does not follow that at some one point an enemy's frigate might not detect an opportunity for mischief, and we have lately published some communications purporting to show that one of our principal ports is actually exposed to a visitation of this very kind. It is declared that an American cruiser, if she could get across the Atlantic and thread her way through St. George's Channel, might undoubtedly enter the Mersey, and so hold the shipping of Liverpool at her mercy for some hours together.

We take this case, then, as a good specimen of the whole, and it would be easy, we think, to show that we have most effective means of defence at our command. Liverpool has abundance of vessels available for service, and abundance of sailors to man them. The Mersey swarms with tugboats, ferryboats, and boats of every description, so built as to be perfectly capable of carrying a heavy gun or two. The population of Liverpool is already enrolled in brigades of Infantry and battalions of Artillery and Engineers. The town, in fact, contains within itself all those materials out of which the Northern States of America have formed a Federal Navy. The expedition to Port Royal was composed, for the most part, of vessels not a bit stronger than could be procured by the score in the waters of the Mersey, and those vessels were manned in haste by New England fishermen. Some months ago Mr. Laird, who has just addressed us afresh on the subject, called the attention of Government to the extraordinary resources for self-defence which Liverpool possessed, and his suggestions for turning these to practical account were approved by the officers deputed by Government to inquire into the matter. Here, then, we have exactly what we want - good ships, good men to man them, and good will for the service. All that is asked of Government is that it should furnish guns, of which there can be no lack, and make compensation for the equipment and occasional use of the vessels employed.

We introduce this subject to the public because we are sure that it indicates the true principles of national defence. It is quite impossible that the Royal Navy can furnish a squadron for every sea and a guardship for every port. Something must be left to local resources, and, indeed, it is exactly this combination of voluntary service with national action which constitutes true power. The Queen's ships can scour the seas and keep the Channel, but enemies like the Americans will now and then run the blockade, especially if enticed by an easy prey at the end of the voyage. Against these visitors it will be quite sufficient to establish local defences. An American cruiser would not run the risk of an engagement by which she might be crippled or delayed. She would mark out spots left unprotected through carelessness or confidence, pounce upon her prey, and be at sea again before any ship could get on her track. She would find her reward in the credit which such success would bring her, and in the renown which would attend an enterprise so intrepid and audacious. It is useless to urge that this would be a barbarous and useless system of tactics, for it would, in fact, be the only system open to the Americans in a contest with a navy like ours. They have no line-of-battle ships, and they cannot keep the sea by powerful fleets. Their blows would be aimed at our commerce and our pride. They would endeavour to intercept our merchant vessels, and to alarm us on our own shores. If some smart San Jacinto should actually succeed in entering the Mersey or the Humber in defiance of a Channel squadron, the exploit would be set off, and not unreasonably, against our displays of force along the Federal coasts. The Americans would tell the world that all the maritime power of Britain could not secure its ports against their cruisers, and we should be left to infer that an enemy so successful in spite of such odds had better be conciliated than encountered. Of course, we could spread alarms and inflict injuries in our turn, but that would count for little in the estimate. We, as the stronger Power, should be expected to do so, but it would be the weaker Power which would get credit for the achievement. These peculiar risks we can only meet by a system of local defences. When the Americans know that our ports are at least so far protected that they cannot be attacked with impunity or damaged without a struggle, they will not venture on making the attempt. Their only hope of success lies in the chance of a surprise. Take away this chance, and their opportunities are gone. Nothing is wanted beyond such means of defence as may be always and immediately available. If there is a flotilla of gunboats which can be sent out, or a battery which can be manned at the first appearance of a hostile sail, enough will have been done. No enemy will then run the risk of the adventure, and the necessary precautions ought to be taken without delay. Even if we may indulge the hope that the Federal Government will not persist in refusing our present just demands, we can never be sure that the convulsions and quarrels of the disunited States may not bring an American war to our doors.
We 25 December 1861


Sir, - Reverting to my letter published in your impression of the 16th inst,, I would again call public attention to the absence of any preparation for the employment of our gunboats in the coming struggle with America. I shall not attempt to enlarge upon the great utility of that class of vessel in all warlike operations, nor enumerate the many cases where their great value has been abundantly proved, nor shall I enter upon a description of the national outcry for them in 1854, the enormous outlay upon them, and the trouble and expense bestowed upon carefully stowing them away, but simply draw the attention of the public to the words (the result of long experience) of our probable foes on the subject, and I trust that the lesson read to us by the Secretary of the Federal Navy will not be thrown to the winds.

In his report to Congress he alludes to the difficulty of maintaining "a blockade as rigid and effective as the peculiar nature of our maritime frontier, which has through a large portion of its entire length a double coast, inner and outer, would admit." And then he points out the reason, viz., -"Our principal naval vessels are not, from their great draught of water, adapted to blockade a shallow coast, which has been guarded with extreme difficulty." Again, - "Most of the public armed vessels being of such a size and draught of water that they could only render imperfect blockading service, immediate measures were taken by the department to carry into effect the policy of the Government in advance of the special Session of Congress, by contracting for the construction of 23 vessels, which should be of light draught, but heavy armament. Many of those first ordered are already in commission, and the others are in rapid progress towards completion."

The Secretary of the Federal Navy concludes by stating that there will be "an addition, when they are completed, of 52 new steamers peculiarly adapted to the required blockade."

I cannot conceive anything more strikingly opportune and valuable to us at the present moment than the above practical opinion of the highest naval authority in the Federal States.

I would ask even the most unthinking what, in all probability, will be our condition, as strangers quite ignorant of the intricate American navigation, with only large ships and with all the hardships and difficulties of a notoriously stormy season before us, when the natives themselves, thoroughly conversant with the coast and during a favourable period of the year, could render only imperfect blockading service, and blockaded "with extreme difficulty."

It will be a bitter reproach to us hereafter if we fail to profit by the experience thus liberally bestowed upon us by the Secretary of the Federal Navy, and I am the more urgent in bringing this matter before the public because the majority of our gunboats have been so carefully and elaborately hauled up on shore, under shelter, that I fear a month or six weeks must necessarily elapse before they can be ready for sea.

Very lately I had hoped to have the opportunity of personally bringing the subject of our naval resources, &c., before the House of Commons, but for the present my wishes are postponed. In the meantime, should there be room in your columns, I shall be glad occasionally to offer a few remarks on this most important matter.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Holmewood, Tunbridge-wells, Dec. 19.
We 25 December 1861The gunboats in the first-class reserve at Portsmouth are ordered away to the following stations, for the protection of the coasts and harbours, in the event of war with America: - The Highlander, to Kingstown; Escort, Blazer, and Rose, to the coast of Ireland; and the Amelia and Raven to Greenock. They will be commanded by lieutenants from Her Majesty's ships Victory, Asia, St. Vincent, and Excellent, and manned by crews told off from the same ships - all of whom have been, named for service in the boats for some time past under the "gunboat flotilla" regulations. The second-class gunboats at Portsmouth have been taken in hand to be brought forward as first-class reserve at the port.
We 25 December 1861The Pandora, 6, screw, in the first-class reserve at Portsmouth, has been brought down the harbour and berthed alongside the dockyard, to complete her armament, sails, &c., for sea. She is ordered to proceed round to Liverpool and will be stationed in the Mersey for the protection of the port.
Th 26 December 1861


Sir,- In one of your leading articles of this day you discuss, in a congratulatory spirit, the declaration of the French Emperor to the Federal Government at Washington in reference to the affair of the Trent.

It is a most important circumstance at this crisis, and is well deserving of the expressions of gratification you bestow upon it. You, however, I presume, think that there is something in it which completely disposes of the question of a reference to arbitration, and you challenge the friends of that mode of settling international disputes to say what they think of this. I am a very humble advocate of that opinion, but I have no difficulty in responding to the appeal, and at once reply that it gives us the most unmixed satisfaction. You do not inform us why you think this piece of news makes our cause untenable. I wish you had done so, because it would have made my task more easy; as it is, I must fairly own that I am unable to discover the reason, If we are to make a commencement of the new system, surely a moment when an arbitration is quite certain to end in our favour is that of all others its supporters would most gladly select and such is a time which I should imagine would be most likely to recommend it to the nation at large.

No doubt this wanton aggression on the part of what I fear I must now call (for they have approved the act of their officer) the Federal Government has made the arrangements for arbitration unusually difficult; but I must be permitted to say that there never was an opportunity in other respects more golden than our present difficulty with the Washington Government. The subject is so like that of duelling that the arguments run upon all fours. There might be cases where a demand for arbitration, coming from a weak nation to a strong, or where both parties were nearly on an equality, might seem like pusillanimity - the dread of which suspicion we know, by more than one instance, has led, most necessarily, to fatal results. But in the case before us there is no equality at all. America is now utterly incompetent to cope with such an adversary as England, in all the plenitude of her power, and no one could for one moment suspect the motive for a proposal for arbitration on our part. When I say this, don't throw the New York Herald and its abettors at my head; for that party is publicly disavowed by all honest Americans, and is the laughing-stock of the civilized world. I wish some one would inform us what we are to lose by arbitration. Was it ever heard that any powerful nation lost caste by moderation, or is there something so inherently foolish in a resort to such a method of arranging international differences that those who earnestly urge it upon the country are to be considered as of a kind of harmless idiots? I can hardly think this, inasmuch as the distinguished men who framed the Treaty of Paris, acting under the direction of their respective Governments, thought the principle of such importance that they placed upon record with all due solemnity their approval of it; and my firm conviction is that if England would have that true courage which prompts patience, and carry out the recommendations of the Treaty of Paris in this instance, she would go a long way towards putting an end to the chances of war; and if any one desires to know what war is, I refer him to the great Duke who passed away from us nine years ago [The Duke of Wellington, 1769-1852], and whose opinion of it no one will, I suspect, be bold enough to attempt to controvert.

It is not "le droit du plus fort", or the niceties of some ancient Spanish punctilio, about which we are trying our issue, but upon the interpretation of a written code of laws, perfectly well-known and well-defined, and which actually forms the basis of our international communications. So that, irrational as duelling certainly is, to come to blows in such cases as these without attempting arbitration would be more irrational still, because in the matter of duelling there were no laws to which appeal could be made. The difficulty in both cases was the absence of a constituted tribunal. I say was, because I desire to call your attention to, and carry still further, the analogy between the two cases - "the duel national and the duel personal". It is hardly necessary for me to preface this by saying that, if you fly to the ultima ratio without having exhausted every other means of accommodation - success or failure in war or duel being no test of right, - after frightful losses and injuries the question at issue may still remain as undecided as ever. But let us look at what happened in regard to duelling some 20 years ago. Precisely the same objections were made to the arguments of those who had the courage to denounce the practice as now meet the advocates of arbitration. Providence willed that public opinion should be powerfully stirred against duelling by a hostile meeting under circumstances peculiarly shocking, in which a young officer who had won great distinction in our Eastern wars fell by the hand of his kinsman, almost on setting foot on his native shore. Lord Hardinge [Field Marshal Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge, 1785-1856, commander-in-chief from 1852, succeeding the Duke of Wellington], with the full assent of the Duke, made those now well-known changes in the articles of war constituting an appeal in case of wounded honour. It was confidently asserted no man would appeal to them. Happily, not long after, as if to show how Providence favoured the act, words of an offensive character were spoken by one officer to another, alas! now no more, - the late Captain Matson, R.N. He threw the weight of his high character into the scale, demanded a court of honour; the matter was settled without delay, honourably to both parties, and from that day to this duelling may be said to have been blotted out of our institutions. Duelling had no law to appeal to, - arbitration has. Duelling has with us a tribunal, - arbitration has no machinery quite at hand for the purpose. Do not suppose that I do not see the difficulty, or that I underestimate it, or fail to see how under such circumstances attempts at procrastination might be made which would be intolerable; but, difficulties as they are, no one will say they are insurmountable, or that our statesmen are not bound, if by nothing else, yet by the Paris Treaty, to attempt their solution; and excuse my referring, in conclusion, to the religious aspect of the question. The Almighty has said, "Blessed are the peacemakers", and - with, reverence be it spoken - His own honour is concerned in bringing to pass the counsel of those who strive in affiance upon Him.

Your obedient servant,
EBURY [Robert Grosvenor, 1st Baron Ebury, 1801-1893), a Whig politician, M.P. for Middlesex until 1857]
Moor-park, Dec. 23.
Th 26 December 1861


When the answer of the American Government to our own is on its way; when, indeed, a few hours will bring us news of the temper in which our demands for reparation have been received by the American people, it seems like trifling to engage in speculation and abstract disquisitions. At so solemn a crisis, when the Government and people of this country have called a foreign Power to account for an act stigmatized by the unanimous opinion of Europe, and when all eyes are fixed on England, we should be glad to let the subject rest during the few hours of uncertainty that remain. We should have thought that the publication of M. Thouvenel's despatch might have quieted the Peace Society for a day or two. Here they had everything for which they had been calling during the last fortnight. Arbitration, an impartial declaration of the law, an intervention of a respectable neutral Power, such as might give the Americans an opportunity of withdrawing without loss of dignity from a false position, was what they declared to be necessary, and all at once it is found that they have it. Within a few days of the despatch of our note to Lord Lyons a note from M. Thouvenel followed, which probably reached Washington before the Federal Government was bound to return its answer, and which, if President Lincoln and Mr. Seward were disposed to abide by the opinion of an arbitrator, must have decided them to restore the captured Envoys.

One would think there was nothing more to be said; but it seems that there are some among us who are not yet satisfied. We print a letter from Lord Ebury, in which he takes exception to the statement that the action of the French Government was, in effect, an arbitration; at least, this is the only meaning which we can attribute to his letter, which wanders away into general discussions as to the sinfulness of war, the folly of duelling, and we know not what. To the greater part of what his Lordship says we can give the usual assent which men give to those truths which by repetition have arrived at the dignity of platitudes. His precepts would be excellent delivered, from the platform or the pulpit, but we cannot afford time or space for matters that have not a practical bearing. We would therefore simply ask Lord Ebury and his friends what it is that they want? It is of no use to repeat continually an unmeaning shibboleth, and to denounce all who will not echo it. When the first news of the American outrage reached England, the utmost endeavours of a party among us were used to prove that Captain Wilkes was right, or at the worst only erred on a point of form. Every falsification of history or law that American ingenuity could devise was endorsed by those who could not imagine that on an international question their own country could be in the right. When these pretensions were completely exposed, and every rag of legality stripped from off the act of the San Jacinto, then came the cry for "arbitration," and this word has been continually repeated, without any attempt as far as we can see, to give it a practical signification. Who is to propose arbitration? Who is to arbitrate? What is to be the subject of arbitration? What is to be the position of the prisoners pending the arbitration? Does Lord Lyons was like a challenge to fight a duel in private life? Was it the duty of our Government - is it the duty of every Government when an act of violence has been committed - to propose arbitration in the first place? A few zealots of the Peace Party may hold this opinion, but Lord Ebury will, probably, not go so far. He will allow that the first step of an injured State must be to demand reparation, and that the justification and the offer to submit to the judgment of a third party must come from the other side. So far, then, this country is in the right, and up to the present moment has acted in accordance with political morality. All this indignation of the Peace Party against our own Government is based on the totally unwarranted assumption that the Federal Government will propose arbitration, will put Messrs, Mason and Slidell at once in the hands of the arbitrator, and agree to be bound by his award Both Lord Ebury and Sir C. Eardley seem to think that the whole affair rests with the British authorities, and that what Exeter-hall and the attendants at prayer-meetings think kind and Christianlike can at once be accomplished. The Baronet even descends to details on the subject. "Arbitration by a Sovereign," he says, "has been suggested. But arbitration by a Sovereign would not secure perfect law. Moreover, every chief Sovereign in Europe is committed to our view. I would suggest a Sovereign nominating two accredited Admiralty Judges," &c. As for Lord Ebury, he talks of our "golden opportunity" for putting in practice his Christian substitute for the arbitrament of war.

But suppose these gentlemen should overestimate the willingness of the Americans to adopt their peaceable views. Suppose that the countrymen of Captain Wilkes should so far share the insane passions which the Peace Society attributes to Englishmen that the answer of the Washington Government should not be a proposal of arbitration and a surrender of the prisoners into the hands of a third party. What then? Must we propose to submit the justice of this refusal to arbitration, and ask them to appoint a neutral State to decide whether they ought not to have referred the original question to an arbiter? Because, if so, it is difficult to see how matters are ever to be brought to an issue. In short, suppose that the Government of the Federal States should maintain its own opinion and declare itself the supreme judge of its own rights; what is to be done? Mr. Bright and his friends, of course, would say, "Perish neutral rights !" but Lord Ebury and the more respectable members of the party will hardly echo this cry, and it would be well for them to consider what course they would take if the concessions on which they count should not be made by the American Government.

The reductio ad absurdum is quite easy in this case. "Arbitration", cry the peacemakers; "cannot you settle the whole question by arbitration? Why think of steamers and gunboats and regiments for Canada? Can the use of such means ever decide a legal question?" But does any man in his senses believe that without the possession of military and naval strength it would be possible to get the American Government to listen to us at all? It is said now that there is a probability that the Washington Cabinet will make some concessions, though we observe by the very latest advices that the New York press continues to insult the British nation. If there be any foundation for the rumour, to what are we to attribute this change of counsel but to the growing conviction that England is too strong to be treated like the Government of New Granada, which was made the victim of a still more unjustifiable violation of neutral rights, still unatoned for? Cannot every one see, from what has passed in America since the capture of the Commissioners, that the men at the head of affairs have been preparing with sufficient cunning to receive the remonstrances of England? The outrage is so flagrant that they cannot believe it will be passed over, yet they are not aware of the storm they have raised. They have been probably expecting to receive a sharp remonstrance, but not an ultimatum. So the game is to play fast and loose with the question. The Secretary of the Navy gives his warm approval of the act, and the Republican lawyers echo Captain Wilkes's nonsense about embodied despatches. On the other hand, the President carefully avoids the subject in his Message. The Lower House of Congress, which the champions of an extended suffrage in this country now decry, as consisting only of the representatives of the people, votes unanimous thanks to Captain Wilkes; the Senate says not a word. It would be amusing were it not painful to see how the whole set of tricky politicians are preparing to meet the anger of the Britisher. It may be that information has filtered out that the Government at Washington will not stand the risk of a war, and that if England asks in a peremptory manner concessions will be made; but the spirit in which meek advances and proposals for arbitration would be received may be learnt from the conduct of the Americans during the few weeks of suspense. However, that part of the question, at any rate, is quite settled. We have not proposed arbitration. We have now only to see whether the Federal Government will propose it. Unless it do so, the whole hypothetical fabric of Lord Ebury and his friends falls to the ground. Would it not be as well for them to wait a few days, and defer their strictures on the refusal of arbitration by our Government until they have learnt that our opponents have asked for it?
Th 26 December 1861

NEW YORK, Dec. 13, Evening.
(Per City of Baltimore, viâ Queenstown.)

The European advices brought by the Hansa to New York are generally interpreted by the New York press as favourable to the maintenance of peace between England and America.

The New York journals publish some further diplomatic correspondence between Mr. Adams and Mr. Seward. In this correspondence Mr. Adams states that, while in conversation with Lord John Russell in June last, he referred to the fact of British troops having been sent to Canada. Lord John Russell replied that, as Canada had been denuded of troops some time since, it was only a proper measure of precaution, and said that he did not know what the United States might do. Lord John Russell also said something about a threat uttered by Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons, that British vessels would be seized on Lake Ontario without ceremony.
Th 26 December 1861

To the Editor of the Times.

Sir,- I have travelled in North America in winter, both from New Brunswick to Quebec, and, having the misfortune to be shipwrecked in January, 1851, below the Rivière du Loup, I marched up in four days to the latter city, over an icebound road, suffering little, except from cold winds and want of proper clothing. I have gone the other journey in spring and winter, both sleighing and marching it twice. If my practical experience in travelling in North America is worth, attention, I would propose the following expeditious method for moving the troops and stores from the seaboard to the rail, if they should be required in the Upper Provinces. The roads at present are icebound, and will be so till April, at the earliest.

Let the Government send out to either point - New Brunswick and the nearest road open at the mouth of the St. Lawrence - eight or ten steam traction engines, similar to Bray or Boydell's, to which, can be attached the Military Train waggons and Canadian sleighs. Each engine can with ease move at the rate of eight miles an hour, conveying from 600 to 800 men and stores, the former fully equipped. Let proper gear and parties who understand the movements of the traction engines be attached to them, under the direction of the Military Train, and 10,000, 20,000, or 30,000 men, with stores, can be forwarded within a week to the nearest point of the rail for service when required.

Those who are acquainted with the roads and pathways of America in winter can vouch, for the statements I put forth.

I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
22, Regent-square, W.C., Dec. 26.
Th 26 December 1861


Sir,- In the event of war with America, much stress is laid upon the certain devastation to which our merchant ships will he exposed from privateers, and it is even apprehended that our first-class ports might he suddenly visited by the enemy's cruisers, and an enormous amount of damage inflicted upon our shipping. These apprehensions appear to be based upon what took place during the last war with America, and without due consideration being given to the vast change in the conditions of the two periods. I refer more particularly to the electric telegraph and steam. There are now few seaports of any importance in the United Kingdom or in France, Spain, or Portugal (where we have consuls) without telegraphic communication with the Admiralty, and there is no point in the kingdom or in the English and St. George's Channels to which a steamvessel of war could not be despatched at a few hours' notice from some one of the naval dockyards in the kingdom. I take it for granted that no sailing vessel of war of the enemy would venture on our coasts, and the difficulties which a war steamer coming from the other side of the Atlantic would encounter, even in the matter of "coaling" alone, ought not to be overlooked; for the use of our fleet in the North American waters we have vast stores of fuel at Halifax, Bermuda, &c, but where are the American cruisers to coal on this side of the Atlantic? A steamer with empty bunkers would scarcely be formidable to our merchant ships of the better class, for the fact should not be ignored that the superiority in speed which the American privateers formerly possessed no longer exists, at least, so far as regards our best class of merchant ships, and in all classes the disparity is not so great as it was. By all means let our ships and shores be defended, but there is no advantage in overstating the power of the enemy for mischief.

Your obedient servant,
146, Leadenhall-street, Dec, 25.
Fr 27 December 1861

Liverpool, Thursday.

The Canadian steamer North American and the Inman steamer City of Baltimore have arrived this afternoon, the former from Portland in Maine, the latter from New York, both having sailed on Saturday, the 14th instant.
The intelligence by the Hansa, which had arrived at New York, of the feeling in England respecting the Trent affair had created uneasiness. The report of the meeting at Liverpool was much commented upon. The Cunard steamer Europa, which left Queenstown on the 1st inst., passed Cape Race on the 13th, but could not be communicated with; or, as seems likely, the steamer did not wish to be spoken, preferring that her important advices should not be filtered through the news-agents at Cape Race.

The New York Herald talks largely of "British bluster", and of "John Bull's second thoughts", and predicts that the British Government will lay to heart the recommendations of the Peace Party.

The New York Times also argues that, after the first outburst of indignation in England, a reaction had set in, it being almost unanimously acknowledged by the English journals that America had the law on her side. The Times concludes as follows:—
"There will undoubtedly be a good deal of genuine smarting under what may be looked upon as an insult and an injury. Let us allow something for this. It is just to leave a margin for feelings natural to a proud and imperious nation. Local sentiments and associations are always more potent than general convictions; but, making due allowance for this, we take final stand on the acknowledged rectitude of our position. If popular passion is to be allowed to contravene a right in the law of nations, we accept any issue that may result. Of course, the status cannot be restored; the rebel emissaries can never be surrendered. But if there be any ground of complaint, arising from any irregularity in our procedure, there will be perfect readiness to make all due reparation. We have committed ourselves to nothing that hinders our doing so with entire dignity. If England meets us in the same spirit there will be no chance of our quarrelling over Messrs. Mason and Slidell."

The New York World says Americans can afford to be unmoved spectators of the bluster of the English populace and press, inasmuch as they have right on their side. It concludes as follows:-
"Although nothing serious is likely to grow out of this transaction, it is to be regretted that the English press is inclined to make it the occasion of exciting and embittered popular feeling towards this country. It will be more difficult to preserve amicable relations between the two nations after a transaction which so touches and irritates English national pride. But the English Government has too much prudence to drift into war on an inconsiderate popular excitement, which could have no existence but for popular ignorance of the legal questions involved."

The Journal of Commerce says:-
"We regard the news from England as decidedly satisfactory, we have accounts of only one day's occurrence after the arrival of the La Plata, but that day affords abundant evidence that the English people will recognize the law of the case as laid down by us, and that while we shall hear of considerable excitement, we shall have no trouble from the Mason and Slidell affair. The people talk, but The Times of London, the great leader of the anti-American interests, gives up all idea of founding a quarrel on it, and concedes the American right."
The Journal then reviews the arguments which were being advanced in England, the Liverpool indignation meeting, &c, and concludes by expressing its satisfaction with the appearance of affairs, and reiterating its belief that no one need apprehend future trouble.

The New York Herald says:-
"The Canadians are becoming excited about the chances of a war with the United States, and a general call to arms seems to be the order of the day. Volunteers are being drilled with greater exactness and constancy than heretofore, and certain of the storekeepers, especially those of Montreal, have agreed to close their stores at 1 o'clock on Saturday afternoons, to enable their young men to have extra time for military duties. The sedentary militia are to be called out, and one journal intimates that nearly 200,000 men could be raised in a very short space of time. Regular troops are marching from one part of the provinces to another, and a party of Sappers destined for Toronto arrived at Quebec, having marched the distance between that city and Halifax, Nova Scotia, overland, in 10 days and 2 hours. General Williams of Kars and his staff have been engaged inspecting the old and superintending the erection of new fortifications along the whole Canadian frontier, and left Toronto on the 10th for Montreal. Lieutenant-Colonel Robertson, however, remains to superintend the erection of the new works of defence at that place."
Sa 28 December 1861


The delay which winter gales have wrought in the transmission of news across the Atlantic causes us to be still in doubt as to the reception of the British demands by the Government and people of the Northern States. The Europa, which carried the British demand of reparation, passed Cape Race on the 13th, but did not communicate; she would, however, be at Halifax in some 36 hours after, and then her momentous news would be flashed through the country, having at least two days to do its work in the shape of "sensation" telegrams before the remonstrances and exhortations of the Americans in this country could reach the Government at Washington. In this, perhaps, lies the chief danger of an unfortunate issue. In a country where the multitude is all powerful and the Government timid to a degree unknown in Europe it is quite possible that the reception of the news by the great cities of the Union may determine the action of the Executive, or, at least, lead the chief men of the Republic into declarations from which they will find it difficult to draw back. We cannot doubt that when the demands of the British Government were made known to Mr. Lincoln, when he found that we are serious in our resolve to have reparation, and when, moreover, the deliberate and unsolicited judgment of France was given in the case, he or any other sensible statesman would be slow to refuse concession, and to take the alternative of a war, which, whatever its consequences in other quarters, must result in the independence of the South. There is in the acts of the Washington politicians enough to show that they were beginning to have some apprehensions of a dispute with this country, and were willing to leave open a door for escaping from the difficulty, though they had not the grace to acknowledge that Captain Wilkes's act was indefensible, or even to admit that there could be a doubt about the law. We cannot but hope that they will have had the power to use the prudence which they seem to possess, and that when the demand of the British Government arrived President Lincoln was not influenced by any warlike demonstrations on the part of his countrymen, or committed by any hasty language uttered by himself or his Ministers.

Most people will have been surprised that of late so little mention should have been made of the Trent affair by the American papers, and that it should have yielded place to speculations on the capture of Fort Pulaski or the efficiency of the "stone fleet." But this silence, during a time when all England has been convulsed, is easily understood when we recollect the conviction of Americans that this country cannot afford, under any circumstances, to go to war with them.

"We could not kick England into a war if we tried," said an American politician some years ago; and he did not mean to be particularly insulting, or to impeach our personal courage, for he went on to say that America commanded the three great staples of the world - corn, cotton, and currency, - the latter in the shape of Californian gold, - and that England was so completely dependent on the United States for the subsistence of her population and the maintenance of her artificial social fabric that she would undergo any indignity rather than take the risk of war. This has been the conviction and the boast of all classes in America, from Rowdies and Filibusters to the intellectual ladies and gentlemen who talk the cant of international brotherhood in London drawing-rooms. A very good instance of the reasoning employed is to be found in a recent article of the New York Times, which proves to its own satisfaction that England will never go to war for the Trent business, and that Americans need expect nothing but "a deluge of newspaper declamation." "America", says the writer, "can produce everything for herself; not so England: she is not self-sustaining. Isolate her for one year and she would cease to be England; cut off her importations of food, and a large portion of her people would perish of starvation. We shall send to that country in the present year $100,000,000 worth of grain and provisions, and meet a want which can be supplied from no other source." The writer goes on then to speak of the 650,000 men, who could take Canada in six months, and "the enormous fleet we are creating", which would "effectually destroy the commerce of England on every sea, and in this way seal her destruction." And then, with the true instinct of Pennsylvania and Michigan, he goes on to say, "And, perhaps more than all, she sees the immense investment in and with this country, which would be swept out of existence in a moment in the event of a war." In short, England, partly from dread of the Federal army and navy, but far more on account of her complete dependence on America, "can hardly be forced into a war with us on any pretext, - much less on that assumed."

These arguments are precisely those which are most commonly repeated among the Americans, and, we think, account for the indifference with which the action of England in the matter of the Trent has been expected. What the Herald calls "British bluster" is looked for by the American public, but nothing more. The idea that so great a pressure will be put upon their Government that it may possibly be induced to give up Messrs. Mason and Slidell, never enters into the minds of the people. As our Special Correspondent says,-
"The discussions which succeeded the arrest have subsided, and all we hear now is praise of the action, the regrets of Mr. Welles that the Trent was not captured, and an under-current of apprehension that things will not be taken quite so quietly in England." But at New York there was among the people generally even less doubt of the irreversibility of the act than at Washington. Captain Wilkes was there, and was the lion of the season. A few days before the last steamer left he had been recognized at the theatre, and was obliged to come forward and receive the applause of an enthusiastic audience. Thus, we have two elements in the Federal States - one consisting of the thoughtful politicians and the anxious business-men of the country, who, if they can get the start and have their own way, will be disposed to settle matters amicably by giving up Mason and Slidell, and the other far vaster, and, when in commotion, far more powerful, consisting of the great mass of the people, who believe that England will never really dare to fight America, and that if she is caught in a war it will be ruin to her and a glorious triumph to the Stars and Stripes. As far as political motives are concerned the chances are equally balanced. True, a war with England will shut up the Federal ports and deliver the Southerners from all attacks on their coast, though the New York public will probably not believe even this. But, on the other hand, there is notoriously a large party which is disgusted with the present contest, and which may be inclined to jump at a war with England as presenting a chance of an easier victory over a more celebrated enemy. Thus the news which is fast approaching us is such as no man can venture to predict. We can only hope that wisdom and justice have prevailed, while, at the same time, we lose not a moment in preparing for a more unfortunate issue.
Sa 28 December 1861A Despatch from Mr. Seward on a serious, and possibly dangerous, dispute between the British, and American Governments is at this moment an extremely important document. It may also be an instructive one, for it is this very Mr. Seward who has written the Despatch which we are now hourly expecting, and the contents of which will determine the momentous question of peace or war. Such a document we published yesterday. Five months ago the Federal Government not only held itself aggrieved by the Queen's Proclamation of neutrality in the American quarrel, but discerned, as it thought, the germs of a possible collision on a question which had just arisen concerning the blockade of the Southern ports. Under those circumstances Mr. Seward addressed a Despatch to the American Minister in London, in which he discusses at great length the actual and relative positions of the two Governments, explains the general principles of President Lincoln's policy, examines the contingency of a war with England, and reveals the sentiments which have actuated his own rather equivocal proceedings. We can here see, therefore, what Mr. Seward had to say in July last upon a subject not without resemblance to that which is now occupying every man's mind, and the view will give us some insight into the policy by which the action of the Federal Government is regulated.

The Despatch before us bears the critical date "July 21, 1861," the very day of the Battle of Bull's Run, and if Mr. Seward had written but a few hours later he would perhaps have modified some of the terms in which he described the insurrection of the South. At the very moment when this letter was indited events were proving that England, in "assuming a certain degree of probability of success by the insurgents in arms," had made an assumption by no means unwarrantable; and that it was Mr. Seward, and not Lord Russell, who had taken up an erroneous position. In fact, the history of the campaign is the vindication of our policy, and that vindication is both simple and complete. It was perfectly natural that the Federal Government should disparage the importance of the Secession, make light of the Southerners' power, and persist in describing the whole affair as a mere domestic disturbance, of which it was neither needful nor fitting that any foreign Government should take cognizance. England, however, was compelled to take a practical view of the case, and when it was clear that a third part of the Union had seceded from the body politic, and was resolutely bent upon maintaining its independence, the fact so accomplished could not possibly be overlooked. Mr. Seward himself describes the objectionable feature in our proceedings by observing that the Queen's Proclamation, though there had been no previous or deliberate hearing of the claims of the United States, "took notice of the insurrection as a civil war so flagrant as to divide the country into two belligerent parties, of which the Federal Government constituted one, and the disloyal citizens the other." That was our offence, no doubt, but we can now ask with perfect confidence whether we went a step too far. Not only was our assumption absolutely warranted at the time, but it has been justified by the whole course of events from that moment to this. The description given by Mr. Seward is simply the description of a fact which could not possibly be otherwise understood or interpreted.

Still, at the time when the Despatch was written Mr. Seward entertained strong objections to the assumptions of Great Britain; he also thought things might become worse, and he speaks without reserve of the contingency of war. In what spirit, then, does he contemplate this prospect, and with what views does he appear to regard such an event? We are certainly of opinion that at that moment he had not the least desire to see his Government embroiled in a war with this country. His pretensions are somewhat lofty, and his declarations occasionally somewhat peremptory, hut, though he carefully avoids anything like a confession of apprehensions, and strives to maintain the tone of a powerful Government prepared for all hazards but wisely desirous of peace, he evidently wishes to escape any such disputes as would bring England into the struggle. He observes, with an obvious purpose of deterring us from interference, that "when a conflict on such a question " (viz., one of maritime international law) " shall arise between the United States and Great Britain, it is not easily to be seen what maritime nation could keep aloof from it;" and the peroration of his Despatch is based on this same argument. "If", he says, "through an error, on whatever side, this civil contention shall transcend the national bounds, and involve foreign States, the energies of all commercial nations, including our own, will necessarily be turned to war, and a general carnival of the adventurous and the reckless of all countries, at the cost of the existing commerce of the world, must ensue. Beyond that painful scene upon the seas there lie, but dimly concealed from our vision, scenes of devastation and desolation, which will leave no roots remaining out of which trade between the United States and Great Britain, as it has hitherto flourished, can ever again spring up." Throughout this argument there runs an assumption not only that the intervention of Great Britain in the American quarrel would draw after it the intervention of other States, but that those States might probably be ranged on the side opposite to ours, and we are thus menaced not only with the hostility of America, but with the consequences, necessarily formidable to a shopkeeping nation, of universal war. The reasoning, in fact, closely resembles that of certain State papers which we have seen more than once of late years, and in which the intervention of any foreign Power between a strong belligerent and a weaker one is deprecated, on the ground of public tranquillity. It is enough, however, for our present purpose to observe that this deprecation is made, and that President Lincoln is, or was, as anxious to keep the civil war all to himself as the Emperor Nicholas was to make a private quarrel of the whole Turkish question.

There are indications of a certain arbitrariness in the Despatch which might be thought ominous, if the policy thus delineated could be applied to the question now at issue. Mr. Seward claims for the policy of the Federal Government a certain deep and indestructible foundation, which places it in his eyes above and beyond the traditional politics of European States. It is based, he tells us, "on interests of the greatest importance and sentiments of the highest virtue, and therefore is in no case likely to be changed; ... while the policy of foreign States rests on ephemeral interests of commerce or ambition merely." In this spirit he "refrains from argument" on the question then under consideration, because "argument from a party that maintains itself to be absolutely right, and resolved in no case to change its convictions, becomes merely controversial." These views would bode ill for concession if what the Federal Government was asked to concede could be thought to come under the category of inalienable rights. It happens, however, that the pretension is here more on our own side than theirs. "Sentiments of the highest virtue" can hardly require that the Americans should assert a licence to capture passengers on board British ships, whereas "interests of the highest importance" do undoubtedly demand that we should vindicate the rights outraged by the attack upon the Trent. We have not asked the Government of Washington to acknowledge the division of the Union or the belligerent rights of the Confederates; and even Mr. Seward's unchangeable convictions need not be in any way shaken by the surrender of Messers. Mason and Slidell.

Upon the whole, if we may assume that the policy of the Federal Government is at this moment what it was in July, we should have good hopes of peace. At that time President Lincoln and his colleagues, Mr. Seward included, were plainly anxious to avert war, ostensibly in the interests of humanity at large, but really in their own. Since then, too, the civil contest has gone ill for them, and it has become clear that the "great maritime nations," if they should participate in the strife, are not likely to do so to our disadvantage. War, in short, according to all ordinary calculations, ought to be shunned more anxiously by the Federalists now than it was in July last, but whether the very desperation of the case may affect the conclusions of the Government, or the Government be incapable of pursuing its own policy against the current of popular passion, we cannot attempt to decide. A few days will now terminate all suspense and conjectures together.
Sa 28 December 1861

(From our special correspondent.)

The brief contents of the telegram which conveys to us the effect, produced in one day in England by the news of Mason and Slidell's arrest must be elucidated by the fuller details expected every hour, before we can form any opinion here as to the final result on the relations between the two countries. So far as can be judged, there can be no complaint made against the English people for intemperance or violence. In Washington there is a feeling of surprise at the moderation of tone and apparent calm of which we hear - not, indeed, among those who have all along affected to think Great Britain must bear this unexpected interpretation of the right of search with equanimity and with resignation, but among the doubters, who shook their heads and said there would be a tremendous explosion at the other side of the water. Lord Lyons has not received any despatches in reference to the subject, but it is likely the next mail will convey him instructions from the Foreign-office, and afford a base of communications between the two Governments on the subject, unless it be incontestably proved that the arrest was perfectly justifiable by international law, and that henceforth our mail steamers may be detained ad libitum by any captain of a belligerent man-of-war who may choose to say he has a reason to suspect the mail steamer is carrying an enemy's despatches or emissaries; and not only that, but that the bags and letters may be opened in prosecution of that search, and that persons reputed to be enemies proceeding as passengers under the flag may be seized and conveyed away by force. No Power in the world would gain so much as England by recognizing these principles. But since the Treaty of 1856 at Paris it may be held that England is bound to take the sense of her co-signataries in reference to any great question of international law affecting the maritime relations of the Great Powers with each other and with external Powers which did not assent to that treaty, and which have subsequently evinced such zeal in favour of its adoption.

If a United States' Government mail-bag or a United States' official henceforth be carried by any British steamer, we shall have committed a breach of neutrality, and the Nashville may prey upon the Cunarders as well as on the Havre steamers which are under such conditions. I do not know what French jurists and statesmen may think of the case, but I think I may state that the French Admiral on the North American station would have felt it his duty to take Slidell and Mason out of the San Jacinto by force, had they been taken by force out of a French steamer. It is affirmed, with every reason to believe it, that M. de la Gravière expressed himself to that effect when he was speaking of the transaction; but it is no reflection on an officer so sensible, so collected, and so firm as Admiral Milne to observe that he did not arrive at a similar conclusion. The report of Captain Wilkes, which is a curious exemplification of the terrible effects of legal studies on the naval mind, shows he had his doubts as to how he could get at Mason and Slidell, and that at last the bright idea started into his head that they were "living despatches." As Rousseau would have been thought a better Christian if he had died without his Confessions, so Captain Wilkes might have stood higher as "an interpreter of international law" if he had not written his disquisition on Wheaton and others. Nelson coming home from Trafalgar might have been received just as Captain Wilkes has been welcomed in New York after his tremendous "exploit." The discussions which succeeded the arrest have subsided, and all we hear now is praise of the action, the regrets of Mr. Welles that the Trent was not captured, and an under-current of apprehension that things will not be taken so quietly in England. In New York we hear stocks fell and exchange rose at once, and if exchange should continue to rise, the day of trouble for the New York banks is nearer than they or any one expected, though its coming has been regarded as sure.

Dr. Parsons, Professor of the Cambridge Law School, published a letter in the Boston Advertiser in which he expressed an opinion that Captain Wilkes was as much justified in seizing Mason and Slidell as the Government is in blockading the port of Charleston. He starts with the dictum of Lord Stowell, that you may stop the Ambassador of your enemy on his passage. That dictum is susceptible of qualification, and is not and cannot be absolute, and it is in effect impossible to admit that wherever an Ambassador is found at sea he may be seized. Could he be stopped on board a national ship, though the nation to which the ship belonged might be made amenable to the penalties of breaking its neutrality by the act of carriage? During the Russian war, when the English and French fleets lay in the Piraeus, the American Minister took the Russian Envoy to Greece on board an American man-of-war, which lay between the allied squadrons, and which received the Russian with every mark of honour and saluted the Russian flag hoisted at the main. It was proposed to the British commander to resent the affront, and to seize the Ambassador; but he never dreamed of doing so, even when he was on his passage to the shore. There are cases obviously where the principle does not apply, and this instance is only given as an ad absurdum reduction of the doctrine laid down in the dictum. Until any arguments come from the other side the people here are content with the decisions of their own lawyers and publicists, and if they are in harmony with our own there is no ground for anything more than a little surprise, such as may be felt by a man when it is proved to him that the slap in the face he has unexpectedly received was given in accordance with law. Mr. Seward, no doubt, is quite ready, if not eager, for the war of words, in which, it must be confessed, he is an able adversary.

In the meantime the public here are deluded by the semblance of successes in the North, and think they have killed the beast Rebellion already, because they have stuck a few arrows in his horny hide. Their politicians are wrangling over the spoils; they are fighting about the fate of the negro and his ultimate disposal before they have got him; and by a narrow majority the ultra black Republicans were defeated but the other day in a proposition which would have raised the most formidable issue. But will Mr. Chase be able to sustain the platform on which the warriors are standing? The most sanguine here admit that the finances of the United States cannot endure this expenditure for another six months. Much may be done in that time by active Generals, successful expeditions, and daring and happy enterprises. But I do not perceive the ingredients for these things. It is true Major-General M'Clellan, when he begins to move, may display on a large scale the qualities which did distinguish his little campaign in Western Virginia, and the scheme of operations developed assumes colossal proportions and a certain coherency, but one failure in any one part may cause the failure of all. The South is, in spite of all that has been said or done, exhibiting as determined a hostility as ever - nay, more, it warms as the fight goes on; the Southern heart has communicated its fires to its own cotton, and the coast is wrapped in flame and smoke at the approach of the invader. By slow degrees some offshoots may take root on the mainland, but as yet the unparalleled expenditure of the United States - an expenditure on credit and not yet realized - has produced but small impression on the enemy. The subscriptions to the national loan are tumbling down. They are by tens of thousands of dollars where the expenses are by hundreds of thousands of pounds. But if the United States will go on till they have come to their last dollar, which, is the cry that for ever meets me when the politicians talk of finance, they will do a good deal more than they have done yet or evinced a disposition to do. The burden of taxation has yet to be placed on those unaccustomed shoulders. Up to this moment the enormous amount of money circulated through the country has compensated for the cessation or diminution of ordinary trade and industry. There has been enormous profusion without any outcry for economy, and waste without efficiency. It is probable that this army of 600,000 men costs far more than an army of 1,600,000 European troops, and certainly, except for detachment and guerrilla duties, an army of 60,000 European troops could have settled the question of actual superiority in the field very speedily by marching on either Richmond or Washington, in spite of the long line of intrenchments, some time ago, though the task would not now be so easy. Notwithstanding the processes to which contractors are exposed, they pocket fortunes at every clutch. The ruin of material is enormous. Horses purchased by Government for $118, or about 23l., are so treated that they are sold in batches at sums varying from Is. to 4l., the latter being the average price at which 160 were sold a few days ago. In justice to the Americans I must say it is rather the foreign teamster and the city riff-raff who are so cruel, for as a general rule the native-born Americans are kind to animals and treat their horses very well, as is well attested by the gentle disposition of the animals themselves.

But if the North suffer in purse the South is threatened with greater calamities, which she can only endure on the supposition that she does not require trade, commerce, or money to go on with the war. The States seem to conduct their internal government just as of yore, and one must feel some admiration for the system which, sorely tried, has stood so well against all external trials up to the present moment. Governor Brown, of Georgia, in his message to the Legislature, rather insinuates that the Secretary of War did not do all in his power to defend the coast, and says he was obliged to appropriate the funds in the State Treasury to the purposes of the Confederate Government in defending the forts, or let them fall into the hands of the enemy; the State has not been compensated for the outlay (§100,000) thus incurred. The volunteers seized the arms from Augusta and carried them off without his knowledge or consent. There were only 5,000 Confederate troops on the coast, to which an addition of 10,000, with a reserve of 10,000, was considered necessary. The State is called on for an appropriation of $5,000,000 accordingly, and the Secretary of War is censured by implication for neglecting to call out the State troops when the danger of attack became imminent. As the Government has not provided for the defence of the coast, the State is recommended not to count the cost, but to call out as many troops and give as much money - whether $10,000, or $20,000, whether $5,000,000 or §10,000,000 - as may be necessary to defeat the invader. Certainly all this reads like "no surrender". The message is dated November 19, from Milledgeville. It speaks of the United States very much as Russia spoke of the Allies in 1854-5,and in the Norfolk Daybook special fun is made of Mr. Saulsbury's proposition, on the meeting of Congress, for the appointment of certain commissioners to confer with a commission from the Confederate States for the preservation of the Union. That blessed Constitution is said to be "an excellent union for the Yankees, being composed of such despicable God-forsaken scoundrels as were never raked together in one parcel since the world began - a perfect dog-cat conglomeration of negro thieves and pirates". "What under Heavens should we want with a union with them? To share the debts caused by their folly? To share with them the contempt of the world ?" As to debts, however, there may not be much to choose. The Richmond Despatch proposes to punish with death any one who shall ask or receive a percentage for exchange of paper, to make all paper of bank or corporation receivable at par by the States' Treasury and by the Confederate Treasury, to authorize the Treasury Departments to use the public funds and securities for the redemption of paper money in the States, and to require all banks to redeem the bills of each other.
Sa 28 December 1861No. 8 battery of the 10th. Brigade Royal Artillery left head-quarters, Woolwich, by special train for Liverpool last night, to embark for British North America. The battery was in command of Major M'Crea, and consisted of the following officers and men:- Lieuts. D.N. Taylor and J.S. Bothwell, Assist.-Surg. Richards, and 117 sergeants and rank and file.
The 5th company of Royal Engineers, in command of Capt. Gosset, arrived at Woolwich last night from Chatham, per steamboat, and having landed at the Royal Arsenal-pier, under the direction of Brigade-Major Milward, who awaited their arrival, marched to the North London Railway station, and proceeded to Liverpool for embarcation to North America. The line of march both of the Royal Artillery and Engineers was crowded with people cheering. The men appeared to be in excellent health and spirits.
Ma 30 December 1861


The driblets of news we receive from day to day serve only to continue our uncertainty as to our future relations with the Federal Republic of America. When the last sparks of intelligence were flashed from New York to Cape Race the demand carried by the Europa was still on its way. Enough only was known to tell the character of what was coming. To the hope which had been raised by the expectant attitude of the English press at the first intimation of the outrage had succeeded the alarm produced by our announcement of the opinion of the Law Officers and the course taken by our Government. That "intense excitement" should be caused in New York by this sudden awakening from a stolid security is but natural. That the Cabinet of Washington should meet and remain in session for many consecutive hours is a matter of course, which scarcely required additional assurance by telegrams; but that the discussions should have been "firm and cool," or that they should have been conducted with "moderation," would seem to be beyond the probable means of information of those who manufacture the telegrams for Cape Race. The City of Washington left this side of the Atlantic subsequently to the Europa, and would carry the tidings of public opinion in this country up to four days later than the despatch of the British demand. The Washington Cabinet, therefore, would have had under its consideration the general scope of the demand while it was still on its way, and might, perhaps, even have received some intimation of the opinion of the French Government. It was not, however, deliberating upon the official demand when the last news left, nor was it within ten days of the date at which it would become necessary to render a categorical answer to the English Minister.

This necessary pause before decision is favourable to our hopes of peace. Even Mr. Seward cannot answer a despatch officially before he has received it. A nation which desires peace although it does not fear war did well to interpose a few days between the tidings of a demand of reparation and apology and the arrival of the demand itself. Passion will have time to cool, and discretion to regain its influence. The lawyers of the Supreme Courts, whose voice has never yet been allowed to pierce the din of small men's shoutings, will have time to speak. The history of every day which has elapsed since, the story of this outrage reached England will have tended to assure American statesmen that Canada is not a tempting morsel waiting to be swallowed. It will also have fixed it in the American mind that in this matter England is, for the first time in her modern American difficulties, thoroughly in earnest. Time also will allow the Banking Interests in the Northern States to make their influence felt; and will enable Mr. Chase, after discussions with the mercantile houses, to instruct Mr. Lincoln as to the imminent necessity of paying the Volunteers in a depreciated paper currency, and of the probable results of such a process. When, therefore, we are told that "the Federal Government has resolved that Mason and Slidell shall never be given up," we conclude, not that the uncertainty of the ultimate decision has ceased, but only that the phase of the discussions has for the moment been rather more warlike than peaceful. We, moreover, conclude that this warlike impression is not the impression of the Cabinet, but only of those outside, who, although they, doubtless, have greater influence in the Federal Republic than they would have in an European kingdom, are, nevertheless, not the immediate instruments of Government, and only the organs of a capricious and fluctuating opinion, We have not yet heard of the arrival of the French despatch bearing upon the point at issue. Perhaps the Cabinet of Washington would set small store by the opinions of Austria and Prussia, but it can hardly fail to be moved by the public declaration of France. We do not put it as a strong ground of hope that the mere conviction that they are in the wrong will decide the Federals' line of action, for if they had honestly intended to do only what was right they never could have approved the rash violence of Captain Wilkes. Nor should we be so sanguine as to expect that the public opinion of Europe would deter them from any safe infraction of the law of nations. We should not hope, for instance, that any expression of the disapprobation of foreign Powers would cause them to offer reparation and apology to the Government of New Granada for their violation of that neutral territory. But when consequences threaten to be serious the opinion of neutral States may have an effect rather politic than moral. It may serve as a convenient means of retreat from a difficulty. When the Ministers of France, Austria, and Prussia press upon Mr. Lincoln the expediency and propriety of acceding to the "just" demands of England, this intervention may, in the eyes of a prudent President and an embarrassed Minister for Foreign Affairs, take the character of a mediation or an arbitration. Such a fact might supply topics for a grandiloquent surrender. Some political capital might possibly be made out of an act of deference to France, who might be once more complimented as America's original ally and fast friend during the struggle for her liberties. Phrases of fierce defiance might be easily and safely coined against England, who would, of course, have been dared to battle but for France. Under this cover there is, we think, yet a possibility that some peaceable outlet may be found from the present difficulty. That it should be done in a graceful manner, because we are right and the American Captain was wrong, we scarcely have the courage to hope; but we have so little relish for war, that if Mr. Lincoln will do what we are compelled for our own character and station in the world to exact, we shall not he too critical as to the excuse whereby he may think it necessary to apologize for doing what is right.

Every advice from America shows how impossible it would have been to live on the seas without teaching the Americans their obligations to the general law of civilization. Only the other day, when the Canada, one of the Cunard packets, was about to sail from Boston, Mr. Dana, the Attorney-General of Massachusetts, wrote to the Cunard agent in that city and informed him that Mr. Breckinridge [John Cabell Breckinridge, 1821-1875, 14th Vice President of the United States and unsuccessful Democrat presidential candidate in 1860; Confederate general during the Civil War] was about to take a passage from Halifax to England in the Canada, and that if he were taken on board Mr. Dana should consider it an act of hostility and a breach of the law of neutrality. Mr. Breckinridge, fortunately, did not offer himself as a passenger, but if he had done so it is highly probable that the Canada would have been stopped as the Trent had been. Very possibly the American officer who effected the seizure would, improving upon his precedent, have taken her, with all her passengers, into Boston, and there she might, perhaps, have been condemned by some Boston Judge, acting "from the instincts of his heart." This would not have been a more flagrant case than that of the Trent; nor, indeed, would it be more flagrant if the same thing were done between Calais and Dover, or between Marseilles and Malta. It is clear that the Federal States either think, as one of their people has said, that England "is not to be kicked into war," or else that it requires a certain amount of kicking to effect this, which they are ready to inflict. Which of these views pervades the minds of American statesmen we shall soon know, We are still inclined to the opinion that, in the face of our earnest attitude, they will restore these men; for whom, except so far as they are entitled to the protection of our flag, we care nothing. If we had to deal with any other than a Democracy we should have no doubt upon the matter. It would be impossible for any Monarch to deny a reparation which all the civilized world has declared to be just, for he would feel his personal honour tarnished by such a war. To a Democracy the same appeal cannot be made; passion may possibly have spoken before reason could be heard. It is a thousand times to be regretted that the two peoples could not speak to each other during all this time through the instantaneous medium of an electric wire. Unless there be some foregone conclusion in the minds of the American, statesmen to force a war at all hazards, we think we should have prevented these perils if we could have told them at once what we and Europe thought of this outrage before they had begun to make a hero of its author.
Ma 30 December 1861The Americans have persuaded themselves that their custom is absolutely indispensable to us, and that the British nation would be ruined without the supplies of raw material which they alone can furnish, and the demand for manufactures which their purchases create. There is no doubt that they have been very excellent customers indeed selling us what we want to buy, and buying from us what we want to sell. In fact, if the New York journals receive the last Trade Returns, and criticize the figures of our national ledger for the month of November, they might really make out a very plausible story. They might show that, instead of importing their cotton by shiploads, as in former times, we received from them only 286 cwt. They might then turn to the column of exports, and point out that in the value of cotton manufactures and cotton yarns exported there was actually a falling off of more than 700,000l. on the month. Our aggregate exportations, indeed, have decreased nearly 7 per cent, upon the whole year as compared with those of 1860, and that reduction might be described as expressing the paralysis of trade already created by the American disturbances. What, then, it would be asked, might be expected to happen if the Northern as well as the Southern ports were closed against us, and we were suddenly deprived of corn and gold as well as of cotton? We answer, that the consequences would certainly be afflicting, but by no means so ruinous as the Americans suppose. The very returns before us show that our trade is too universally distributed to be affected fatally by any single customer, however valuable. There is nothing that America sends us which we could not with more or less trouble procure elsewhere. There is nothing that we send to America which other countries may not, sooner or later, be expected to take. Corn, cotton, and gold are the staple exports on which America relies, and it is quite true that without constant supplies of cotton, occasional imports of corn, and timely cargoes of gold, we could not get on as we do. But America has not a monopoly of any of these commodities. When our own crops fall short, it is not always from America that we replenish our granaries. Out of the enormous supplies, for instance, which we have imported during the last ten months only about one-third came from the States. We paid in that period upwards of 15,000,000l. for corn, but Russia and Prussia together received nearly as much as America. In the year 1859 we purchased far less of the Americans than of the French. Cotton is more of a specialty, no doubt, but the recent discussions on that subject have shown how precarious is the hold possessed by the Southern States upon the European markets. A score or more of competitors are eagerly straining to get a clutch at our custom, and the probability is that before America comes to market again she will find herself forestalled. We see in a column of these returns that though the United States sent us last October only 19,058l. worth of cotton, against some 400,000l. worth in October, 1860, and 700,000l. worth in October, 1859, yet India, instead of contributing supplies to the value of 200,000l., as in 1860, actually sent us in that month cotton valued at upwards of 1,500,000l. Gold, again, is not a production confined to California. It is so exceptional a commodity that we cannot speak of it as we speak of corn and cotton; and, indeed, high authorities have recently assured us that enough of that metal has been already brought to Europe, and that a continuation of the imports would tend more probably to the derangement than the benefit of commerce. However, without entering upon that intricate question, we need only observe, that for the last ten years Australia has rivalled California itself in the production of gold, and that British Columbia and Nova Scotia are likely in future to contribute to the supply. With regard to the actual diminution of our cotton exports, as shown in the present returns, it must be remembered that it may be due as much to the glut in one market as to the scarcity in another. It was observed some months ago that our production had lately been excessive, and that it would be necessary to reduce it. At this moment the stock of cotton actually in store is not very low; it is only in our expectations that we are worse off than usual. We have been manufacturing, however, at such a rate that it is now advisable to slacken speed, and this consideration, combined with the uncertainties of the market, has tended to throw our mills out of work. If we look, too, at the figures before us in such a summary as was given in our impression of Saturday, it may be a question whether we are not actually experiencing almost as much embarrassment as an actual war with America would occasion. A rupture between the two countries would, at any rate, open the Southern ports to us and release the cotton crop, whereas our usual exports to the Northern States have already been so reduced by the effects of the war that there is not much more loss to come. If we were to moralize on the results, we should not be led to the same conclusion as the Americans. It seems to us that the events of the last six months have shown us not so much our dependence as our independence of the Transatlantic markets. We have felt nearly the worst that could happen, and with less suffering than we expected. The partial suspension of industry in the manufacturing districts has not been due solely to the lack of material, and the good sense of the working population, has enabled them to look at the case from the right point of view.

We are much disposed to believe that the custom of the Americans is far less indispensable to us than they imagine. It is valuable, no doubt, but, considering the prodigious extent of our trade, it can hardly he supposed that 20,000,000l. one way or the other could much affect the whole amount. The truth is, that the world is now too wide to leave any controlling influence of this kind in the hands of a single people. When one door shuts another opens. If we cannot get corn from Michigan and Illinois, we shall get it from the Black Sea and the Baltic; if the Southern States do not send us cotton, India and Africa will; if the Californian gold does not reach us, we shall receive all we want from colonies of our own. It is the same with our exports. New customers have sprung up within the last year or two. Italy, Turkey, and the States of South America will take largely from us, and it must not be forgotten that if we carry our custom to fresh producers it will enable those producers to bring their custom to us. If we pay India 20,000,000l. or 30,000,000l. for cotton, India will thereby obtain the means of buying liberally from the manufacturers of England.

An old doctrine teaches us that countries intimately connected by transactions of commerce are not likely to go to war with each, other, and we should, be sorry to think that the theory was unsound. Yet it certainly must be taken with some qualifications. The Northern and Southern States of America, for example, were linked to each other by the closest and strongest ties, and yet they are fighting desperately, not only in spite of such connexion, but, as some say, because of it. It is notoriously maintained that Commercial differences arising out of conflicting commercial interests have created the Civil War, and we need only cast a glance over American journals to find that the commercial intercourse between the States and Great Britain has been actually perverted into an element of strife rather than of peace. The Americans have relied upon the extent of our trade with them to deter us from resenting even the grossest affronts, and they have conducted themselves accordingly. They have shown us less moderation than they would have shown to any people from whom they expected less forbearance, and if we are now dragged into a war we shall probably owe the calamity in no small degree to the mistaken idea that we could never afford to offend such excellent customers, and might therefore be insulted with impunity.
Ma 30 December 1861


Sir,- Your Special Correspondent from Washington, in his letter which appeared in The Times of Saturday last, has alluded to an opinion expressed by the Professor of the Cambridge Law School, in the United States, that the seizure of Messrs. Slidell and Mason is justifiable on the dictum of Lord Stowell, "that you may stop an Ambassador on his passage." So far, however, from the dictum of Lord Stowell affording any real countenance to the act of Captain Wilkes, it will be found, upon a careful examination of the judgment in which it occurs, that it makes entirely the other way (6, Robinson's Reports, p. 468).

The case of the Caroline, which gave occasion for Lord Stowell's remarks, was the case of an American (neutral) ship captured by a British cruiser on a voyage from New York to Bordeaux, in France. She had on board despatches from the French Minister at Washington, addressed to the departments of government in France. Great Britain was at this time (1808) at war with France, and the counsel for the captors urged the Prize Court to condemn the ship and cargo, on the ground of enemy's despatches being found on board. Lord Stowell, however, decreed the ship and cargo to be restored, on the ground that the despatches, being the despatches of an Ambassador resident in a neutral country, must be presumed to be of an innocent nature, and that the interest of a neutral State required that the intercourse of correspondence should not be interdicted to an Ambassador of an enemy resident in the territory of the neutral State.

In the course of his judgment, Lord Stowell remarked upon Ambassadors being in a peculiar manner objects of the protection and favour of the law of nations. "The limits", he says,-
"That are assigned to the operation of war against them, by Vattel and other writers are that you may exert your right of war against them wherever the character of hostility exists. You may stop the Ambassador of your enemy on his passage, but when he has arrived, and has taken upon himself the functions of his office, and has been admitted in his representative character, he becomes a sort of middle-man, entitled to peculiar privileges, as set apart for the protection of the relations of amity and peace, in maintaining which all nations are, in some degree, interested."

The meaning of Lord Stowell in the above passage is obvious, viz., that a State may exercise its belligerent right to stop the Ambassador of its enemy while he is still on his way to the State to which he is accredited if he comes within your jurisdiction, not, indeed, because he is de facto an Ambassador, but because he is not de jure an Ambassador, and privileged as such, until he has been received by the Court to which he is accredited, and so been formally admitted to his representative character.

Such also is the view taken by Vattel in the only passage in his work (B. IV., c. vii., § 85) in which he treats of the subject. "On the breaking out of a war", Vattel says,-
"The people of our enemy may he attacked and seized wherever we have a right to commit acts of hostility. Not only, therefore, may we justly refuse a. passage to the Ministers whom our enemy sends to the other Sovereigns; we may even arrest them if they attempt to pass privately and without permission through places subject to our jurisdiction. A French Ambassador, on his route to Berlin, touched, through the imprudence of his guides, at a village within the electorate of Hanover, whose Sovereign, the King of England, was at war with France. The Minister was there arrested, and afterwards sent to England. As His Britannic Majesty had, in that instance, only exercised the rights of war, neither the Court of France nor that of Prussia complained of his conduct."

The French Envoy to whom Vattel in the above passage refers was the Due de Belle Isle, Maréchal de France, who was arrested at Elbingerode, in Hanover, on his way to his post at Berlin, six months after the declaration of war on the part of Louis XV. of France against the King of England, Elector of Hanover. The Duke and his brother, the Chevalier de Belle Isle, with their suite, were sent prisoners of war to England, and were there detained until the battle of Fontenoy placed so many British prisoners of war in the hands of the French King that the British Government consented to an exchange of prisoners. The affair of the Duc de Belle Isle is one of the Causes Célèbres du Droit des Gens in the first collection of the Baron Charles de Martens.

Lord Stowell, in the further course of his judgment, in commenting on the fiction of law by which an Ambassador, although de facto resident in a foreign country, is regarded as de jure resident in his own country, which is intended as a privilege, says,-
"I am not aware of any instance in which his extra territoriality has been urged to his disadvantage. Could it be said that he would on that principle be subject to the rights of war in a neutral territory? Certainly not."

Dr. Channing, in his eloquent and able pamphlet On the Duty of the Free States, has remarked that a ship on the high seas may be called, without violence to language, an extension of the territory to which she belongs. Such being the case, Lord Stowell's judgment cannot be successfully invoked in support of the claim of a belligerent to enforce the rights of war against the Ambassador of an. enemy who is proceeding to a neutral country on board a neutral ship.

I am, Sir, yours, &c.,
Doctors'-commons, Dec. 28.


Sir, - In all controversies it is important that the real question in dispute should be kept well in mind; and if this is important generally, it is especially so in the case of the Trent, in which it is so easy for acute and zealous minds to raise fresh issues, and so to depart from the real question in dispute. It behoves the British public, therefore, not only to correctly understand, but also constantly to bear in mind the real nature of the complaint which our Government has made against the Federal Government of North America in regard to the seizure and imprisonment of the Confederate Commissioners.

As I understand the question, we have two chief grounds of complaint. First, we say that Captain Wilkes, as a naval officer, had no authority to act judicially in the matter, in ordering their seizure and imprisonment; and, therefore, we demand that his proceedings shall be disavowed. Secondly, we say that, as the original seizure and imprisonment by Captain Wilkes were illegal, their continued imprisonment by the Federal Government is illegal also; and, therefore, we demand that they shall be released. These two grounds of complaint are based, - first, upon the illegality of the mode of procedure; and, secondly, upon the illegality of the imprisonment consequent thereon; and they are quite independent of a third ground, of complaint which we make - viz., that the seizure was effected under the false pretence that the Trent had violated her neutrality by carrying the Confederate Commissioners.

It is understood that Her Majesty's Government have based their complaint and demand chiefly upon the first two grounds - viz., the illegal mode of proceeding, and consequent false imprisonment. In so doing I think they have acted wisely, for to these grounds of complaint there can be no possible answer made; though, undoubtedly, the false pretence under which they have been seized, and are now imprisoned, is an intense aggravation of the illegal acts. Our case is, that what has been done is illegal, and, as the lawyers say, void ab initio, and therefore we say that justice can only be satisfied by the immediate liberation of the prisoners, and their restoration to the status quo. It is like the case of a man who has been arrested and cast into prison under an illegal warrant, signed by a person who had no authority. In such a case, if the prisoner were brought up into the Court of Queen's Bench by writ of habeas corpus, with a view to his discharge from the illegal custody, the only question would be whether the arrest and imprisonment were lawful; and it would be no answer to the application for his discharge to say that, if the prisoner had been proceeded against in a legal way, and had been tried by a competent tribunal, it could have been proved that he had committed an offence for which he might have been legally punished with imprisonment. Nevertheless, such is the answer which is now set up by American lawyers and writers in justification of the seizure and imprisonment of the Confederate Commissioners. They do not pretend to say that the seizure and imprisonment were effected in a legal mode and according to the customary forms of international law; but they say that, if those forms had been complied with, and the ship, cargo, and passengers had been taken before a Prize Court, the captors could have satisfied the Court that the Confederate Commissioners were of the nature of contraband of war, and that the Court would have been bound to confiscate the ship and cargo and to deliver up the Commissioners to the Federal Government to be dealt with as prisoners of war. Then they argue that, as no injustice would have been done to the Commissioners, and there would have been no insult to our neutral flag, if all the proceedings had been legal and regular, there is now no injustice and no insult, when every form of law has been set aside by a captain and crew who have acted like a band of pirates and handed over their plunder to the Federal Government. Happily in this country the forms of law are regarded - as they truly are - as the safeguards of our liberty; and it is lamentable to think that, in a country which has inherited with us the principles of the Common Law and the writ of habeas corpus, our reverence for the forms of law should be treated as a mere "pretence". Yet such is the case. General Scott, in his letter published in The Times on the 7th inst., says:-
"The pretence that we ought to have taken the Trent into port, and had her condemned by a Prize Court, in order to justify our seizure of four of her passengers, furnishes a very narrow basis on which to fix a serious controversy between two great nations. Stated in other words, the offence would have been less if it had been greater. The wrong done to the British flag would have been mitigated if, instead of seizing the four rebels, we had seized the ship, detained all the passengers for weeks, and confiscated the cargo."

With great respect for the veteran General, I entirely differ from his opinion; and though I quite agree that the great inconvenience attending the seizure of the ship in a legal way was a good reason why it should not be seized at all, except in a clear case, it constituted no reason whatever why the forms of law should be entirely set aside and the Commissioners seized illegally. The conclusion forced upon my mind is that Captain Wilkes found that he could not seize the ship and cargo in a legal way; and that, having determined to seize the Commissioners at all events, he determined to do it, as he did it, like a pirate. In his report to the Secretary of the Federal Admiralty he candidly admits that he first determined to intercept the Commissioners, and then consulted the authorities, to see whether he could do it legally. He says:- "I determined to intercept them, and carefully examined the authorities on international law to which I had access, - viz., Kent, Wheaton, Vattel, and various decisions of Sir William Scott, and other judges of the Admiralty Court of Great Britain which bore upon the rights of neutrals and their responsibilities". He decided first and considered afterwards, and it is therefore no wonder that he soon came to the conclusion that it was lawful for him to capture any vessel which had despatches on board, without any regard to whether the ship was a neutral ship, or whether it was sailing from and to a neutral port. He says, "There was no doubt I had the right to capture vessels with written despatches;" and he then adds, with undeniable truth, "but these gentlemen were not despatches in the literal sense, and did not come within that designation, and nowhere could I find a case in point." He agrees that the Commissioners were not despatches, and that he could nowhere find a case in point; but having, as he admits, determined to intercept them, he jumps to the conclusion that the Commissioners were "the embodiment of despatches", and so he resolved to seize the ship, and send it to Key West for condemnation, being confident that she would be condemned for carrying these Commissioners. So confident was he of this that he adds, "The cargo was also liable, as all the shippers were knowing to the embarcation of these live despatches". Captain Wilkes was confident the ship would be condemned as lawful prize, but, nevertheless, he forbore to seize her, and for this forbearance he gives two reasons - first, he says he was "so reduced in officers and crew"; and, secondly, he mentions "the derangement it would have caused to innocent persons". Let Captain Wilkes have all due credit for his tenderness to his crew, and particularly for his politeness to the lady passengers whom he allowed to proceed to England without their husbands and fathers; but, surely, he cannot expect the world to believe that those were the real reasons why he did not seize the ship? He wanted the Commissioners, and had determined to have them per fas aut nefas. He had found out from the authorities that there was no case in point, and that it would have been useless to take the ship, cargo, and passengers into a Prize Court, and, therefore, he constituted himself the Judge, and decided that the Commissioners, as "live despatches", were contraband of war. The uninviting portals of a Prize Court were thus avoided; Kent and Wheaton, and Vattel and Sir William Scott were all ignored; and the Confederate Commissioners, without trial, were lodged in a fort, under no other sentence than the rough-and-ready judgment pronounced by this sea Captain.

Upon his own quarter-deck he decided upon the view that these Commissioners were live despatches, and, as such, liable to imprisonment, or whatever worse the vengeance of his country might award. For piratical acts like these men were formerly hung in chains, and in our younger days we have seen the birds of prey hovering over their carcases on the gibbets at Blackwall; and the answer we anxiously await is, whether the Federal Government, with all its high pretensions, and glorious ancestry, intends to justify and defend this act, and so to descend from its high vantage ground and become the abettor of lawless violence and rapine on the High seas.

Let it be borne in mind that those high seas are the common highway of all nations, and ships of war are but the armed police of nations, whose duty it is to patrol the deep and guard the commerce of the world from pirates, who are declared to be the enemies of all mankind. It is the duty of this armed police, according to international law, to resist violence by force, and to hand over to the lawfully constituted tribunals those who are reasonably suspected of offence, to be dealt with according to law. Ships of war are the ministers of justice, like the police who guard our highways and homes, and woe to that nation whose policemen become robbers, or whose ships of war become the ministers of violence and rapine.

I am, Sir, yours, &c.,
Serjeant's-inn, Dec. 28.

P.S. As Captain Wilkes says he consulted several decisions of Sir William Scott in the Admiralty Court of England, I should like to ask him whether he happened to read that learned judge's judgment in the case of "The Madison" (Edwards's Reports, 224), the marginal note of which is as follows:-
"Despatches on board a neutral ship going from a hostile port to a Consul of the enemy resident in a neutral country, not a ground of condemnation." In that case the neutral ship was American, and the neutral country was America, and Sir William Scott (Lord Stowell) in his judgment says:-
"I take this to be a correspondence in which the American Government is itself interested. A Danish Consul-General in America is not stationed there merely for the purpose of Danish trade, but of Danish-American trade; his functions relate to the joint commerce in which the two countries are engaged, and the case, therefore, falls within the principle which has been laid down in the case of the Caroline (6, Robinson, 461), in regard to despatches from the enemy to his Ambassador resident in a neutral country. In the transmission of these papers America may have a concern and an interest also; and, therefore, the case is not analogous to those in which neutral vessels have lent their services to carry despatches between an enemy's, colony and the mother country."
Ma 30 December 1861

Reuters Telegrams.
(Per Bavaria by Telegraph to St. John's and from Southampton.)

NEW YORK, Dec. 16.

The excitement caused on the New York Exchange by the City of Washington's news is intense beyond description.
Saltpetre has advanced to 15c. per lb., and at the public sales tea and coffee have been withdrawn. Brimstone is kept out of the market. Sterling exchange has advanced to 110, and stocks have declined from 4 to 8 per cent.

(Per Bavaria, by Telegraph to Cape Race, and from Southampton.

NEW YORK, Dec. 17.

The City of Washington's telegrams, received at New York on the 15th inst., caused intense excitement.
Public feeling has since become calmer, and the idea prevails that there will be no war.
There is a general disposition to do what is right.
The Africa, which was to sail on the 18th inst., has been detained by Lord Lyons until the 20th inst., in order to take out despatches.
A despatch from Washington, published in the New York Herald, announces that the Federal Cabinet have been in session many hours to-day.
The same despatch also states that the difficulty with England is discussed with firmness and coolness, and that, whatever may be the demands of England, the Federal Government has resolved that Mason and Slidell shall never be given up.
The New York Times publishes a despatch stating that "no ultimatum from the English Government regarding Messrs. Mason and Slidell is expected at the beginning of the diplomatic correspondence."

December 18.

The Confederates in Kentucky are stated to be jubilant at the prospect of a war with England.
The Union men will, it is said, demand war in preference to offering a word of apology to England.

December 18.

(Later by Telegraph to Cape Race, by the same Steamer.)

NEW YORK, Dec. 18.

The news received from England to-day per Jura has created still greater excitement.
The Washington Cabinet is discussing the demands of the English Government with moderation.
The general impression is that the Southern Commissioners will, under no circumstances, be given up.
The banks have agreed not to suspend specie payments for the present.

The Royal Mail steamship Canada arrived here at 4 30 p.m. to-day, embarked the mails, passengers, and latest telegrams, and proceeded for Halifax and Boston at 5 p.m.; all well.
Ma 30 December 1861The fine steam transports St. Andrew, Capt. Diitton, belonging to the Montreal Mail Packet Company, and the Calcutta, No. 8, Capt. Wright, chartered for the conveyance of troops and war stores to British North America, took up berths alongside the T-pier at Woolwich, on Saturday, from Glasgow and Deptford, and were officially inspected by Major Field, Deputy-Assist. Quartermaster-Gen. Royal Artillery. The Calcutta has been thoroughly fitted at Deptford, and both vessels afford excellent and roomy accommodation. The nominal burden of each vessel is 2,000 and 1,500 tons. The Victoria and Adelaide, vessels of a similar class, laden with victualling stores and ammunitions of war, were towed down to Greenhithe from Deptford on Saturday to be swung, preparatory to their departure. The Calcutta, the first for sea, yesterday embarked No. 8 battery of the fourth field brigade Royal Artillery, lately arrived at Woolwich from Aldershott, consisting of Capt. H.A. Smyth, Capt. W.J. Hall; Lieuts. E.H. Wickham, A.H. Maclean, and E. Clayton; Assist.-Surg. A.S.K. Prescott; Vet.-Surg. J.J. Meyrack, and 262 non-commissioned officers and men. The battery assembled on parade yesterday morning soon after 8 o'clock for inspection, and, having been addressed as to the nature of the expedition on which they were about to depart by Gen. Sir Richard Dacres, they marched on board at 9, in readiness to sail by the early tide this morning. Since the death of the Prince Consort the bands have ceased attending the embarcation of the troops. In addition to the above named battery of Royal Artillery, Mr. Bagnall, Mr. Greigg, and four sergeant-conductors of stores, belonging to the storekeeper's department at Woolwich, and a number of non-commissioned officers, appointed to drill the Canadian Militia, took passage in the Calcutta. The storekeeper's department was engaged during the whole of yesterday in shipping the residue of her freight, consisting of 120 tons of Armstrong shot, the 12-pound battery of rifled guns and their appurtenances. There was also embarked an ample provision of warm military clothing consisting of, for each man, two pairs of woollen drawers, one sheepskin overcoat, one pair of sealskin mits, one pair of Canadian boots, two pairs of worsted stockings, one sealskin cap with ear mufflers, one chamois leather waistcoat, one comforter, one jersey, and two merino under vests.

No. 6 Battery, 10th Brigade, Garrison Artillery, at Woolwich, are under orders to embark at Liverpool on the 1st prox., in the Hibernian; Nos. 2 and 3 Batteries, 15th Brigade, Garrison Artillery, and No. 7 Battery, the last remaining at Woolwich of the 10th Brigade, are to embark on the 4th in the mail packet at Liverpool. 118 men belonging to the Royal Artillery, under command of Major Bantrun, Capt. Addington, and Lieuts. Mansfield, Isaacson, and Elwin, leave the Granby Barracks, Devonport, this day, at 7 10 p.m., for Bristol, by South Devon Railway. It is understood that they will embark at Pembroke for Canada.
We 1 January 1862From the notices published of late respecting the extraordinary activity displayed in the outfit, commission, and despatch of the first-class reserve gunboats to the Mersey and elsewhere it might; naturally be presumed that an equal degree of activity existed at the head-quarter depôt of the gunboats at Haslar. This is not the case, however. With the exception of 30 hands specially employed to complete the Tyrian, begun, but delivered in an unfinished state by a private builder, there is nothing doing in the yard and shipway. It would take a considerable number of hands some length of time to render the boats stored under Haslar sheds fit for commission. Many of them now lying on the blocks with their copper off and an air-strake out of their planking on each side have lain thus for 18 months, and some still longer, since they were partially examined and passed as sound boats. If a judgment may be formed of the probable state of the whole of these, from a recent examination of one of their number, it may be concluded that many of them now are exceedingly faulty. There can be but little doubt that many of these vessels, which at the time of the official examination may have had but a rotten timber or piece of planking at wide intervals, are now very defective. The line of blocks on which the boats are stowed are divided by brick partitions into six equal parts, and the whole covered by zinc ridge and furrow roofing. The mortar boats stand on the opposite side of the yard, with their decks merely covered with penthouse roofing. In the first division of the gunboat sheds are stowed the Caroline, Pet, Pert, Tiny, Wolf, Crocus, Camel, Skylark, Garland, and Gannet. The seven last named have each their copper off, with which exception they are supposed to be complete and sound in their hulls. But it is well known that they are not. The Pet and the Pert have portions of the planking stripped from their bottom. One is in a good state of preservation; the other is not. One was built in a public and the other in a private yard. The remaining boat in the shed is the Caroline, still doing penance for her faults of construction. In the second divisional shed stands the Mackerel, fixed like the Caroline. Both vessels should be pulled to pieces and their places occupied by craft that may be some day of use. In addition to the Mackerel is the Flirt, with fore part of keel and some of her timbers crumbling to dust from dry rot. Her after body has not yet been sufficiently opened to give a correct idea of its state. The Cherokee is bare yet to her timbers, which are being completed slowly for planking. The Brave is rather more forward, and will soon commence planking. The Beaver and the Badger have been hauled up, and still retain their old copper, with an airstrake of planking out, but no one can say what condition they are in until they have been fairly opened. The remaining boats here are the Primrose, the Prompt, and the Pickle, belonging to the uncoppered class. In the third shed are the Fervent, the Albacore, the Gnat, the Swan, and the Redbreast, of the uncoppered class; the Grinder and the Brazen, with their old copper on; the Beacon, stripped of planking, and making good her timbers; and the notorious Whiting, at length nearly complete in her new planking. In the fourth shed stands the Snapper, partially opened, and faulty, as also may be termed the Pincher; the Peacock is stripped of planking, and making good her timbers; the Gadfly, the Rocket, the Midge, the Charger, the Parthian, the Blossom, and the Confounder belong to the supposed sound, but uncoppered class. In the 5th division the Thrush and Ready are partially stripped of their planking, and in the adjoining and last division of the sheds are the new class of gunboats now building by the Government, comprising the Minstrel, Netley, Orwell, Bruiser, and Cherub, with the majority of their timbers and framing in position, and the Tyrian, completing, after having been received in an unfinished state from the hands of the contractor, as already stated. The mortar boats in the yard consist of 12 built of wood and nine of iron. Of the condition of the former at present no one can speak with confidence until they have been further opened and examined. Twelve months since they were said to be in good condition. Three-fourths of the gunboats are of 60-horse power. Of those afloat in the port are the advanced flotilla, comprising the Rose, Raven, Blazer, and Highlander. From this class have been recently detached the Amelia and Escort for service in the Mersey. To supply the places of the advanced flotilla in the first-class reserve, the following boats are being hurried forward in the ship and steam basins of the dockyard from the second-class reserve:- The Jasper, 80-horse power, and the Earnest, Savage, Cracker, Foam, Swinger, and Pheasant, of 60-horse power each. The remainder of the gunboats in the port reserve consist of the Fenella and Hunter, of 40-horse power each, and the Chub, Decoy, Ant, Rambler, Daisy, Angler, and Cheerful, each of 20-horse power. The gunboat-yard at Haslar at present is a solitude compared with the chief yard at Portsmouth. In the latter it is one continuous scene of energy and bustle.
Th 2 January 1862

[A portion of the following appeared in our Second Edition of yesterday:-]
Reuter's express.


The Royal Mail steamship Africa, from New York on the 20th. ultimo, arrived here at 2 a.m. She brings 49 passengers and $191,384 in specie. She landed 96 sacks of mails and six passengers, and proceeded for Liverpool at 2 45 a.m., all well; she experienced strong easterly winds on the passage.

NEW YORK, Dec. 19. Evening.

The steamship Europa arrived at Halifax on the morning of Sunday, December 15, bringing European advices to December 2. A very full summary of the opinions of the English press on the Mason and Slidell case, and the important decision of the British Government, as well as the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, was telegraphed to New York and Washington, where the news was received on Sunday afternoon. No journals were published, however, on Sunday; but the nature of the news gained currency through private circles, and caused intense excitement, the more so as the previous advices per the Hansa had led the public to believe that there would be no difficulty with England on this question.

A full telegraphic summary was published in the American journals of Monday, the 16th of December, and the Mason and Slidell case became the absorbing topic of the day. The press and the public generally seemed to deprecate war with England, and to cling to a vague idea that the matter would be settled by some diplomatic arrangement. Unanimity at first, however, appeared to prevail among the press and public upon the most important part of the question - namely, the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell; and the universal opinion was that the "national honour" of the country could never permit the surrender of the prisoners under any circumstances whatever.

The following day, December 17, the feeling universally was much calmer and quieter throughout all circles, and the general opinion was that war would certainly not ensue; the idea of giving up Messrs. Mason and Slidell was even discussed, and its probability entertained, the argument being, if the Federal Government was in the wrong in taking these men, there is no disgrace in surrendering them; and if they were right, the question can be discussed or settled by arbitration. The startling rumour that the Federal Government had forbidden the export of specie gained credence in New York for some time on the afternoon of December 17, but it was soon ascertained that such a thought had never even entered the head of the Washington Cabinet. The Europa reached Boston late on the afternoon of December 17, having been 40 hours from Halifax to Boston against strong head winds. It was then announced that within 30 minutes after the Europa touched at Halifax the British steam sloop-of-war Rinaldo got up steam, and left, in pursuance of some orders, it was supposed, brought by the Queen's messenger, to communicate with the Admiral of the British North American squadron. The Europa's mails were delivered in New. York December 18, and their contents largely scrutinized. Captain Seymour, Queen's messenger, and Mr. Cooke, messenger from Mr. Adams, arrived in New York on the morning of December 18, and at once left for Washington by special train, where they arrived at midnight.

The tone of the New York morning journals of December 18 was materially changed on the Mason and Slidell question, and a degree of moderation was observable in discussing this subject, very different from the articles of the few previous weeks. Whether through chance or any other cause, none of them contained any despatches from Washington on this question. On the afternoon of the 18th news from England to the 6th of December was telegraphed from Portland, and the announcement of the formidable warlike progress being made in Great Britain again created great excitement and affected the money market injuriously.

The following despatch from Washington was published in the New York Times of the 19th of December:-
"A Cabinet was held to-day, at which the English question was discussed - of course informally, as the nature of the despatches brought by the Royal messenger had not been divulged. There was but one sentiment prevalent, and that was that no quarrel with England must be permitted to interfere at this moment to stay the reduction of the Southern rebels. The Government is probably satisfied that the clamour for a war with England originates with and is propagated by sympathizers with the Southern rebellion. It knows that nothing would so gratify the rebels, would so restore their vanishing confidence, and reinvigorate them to redoubled efforts at defence, as the news that England is permitted to come to their rescue. It believes it has no right to give new life to the rebellion by entering upon another and vaster quarrel, which would at the same time increase tenfold the burdens upon the people of the North, and it naturally hesitates to adopt a policy which would carry joy to every traitor in the country, and weigh down to poverty the loyal and law-observing citizen. But, whether these or other considerations govern in the matter, I have the best authority for saying the demands of England will be met in a spirit of conciliation, which will at once refute the calumny that Mr. Seward or any other member of the Cabinet has been eager to provoke a foreign war. The intelligence received by the Jura, that the despatches with which Slidell and Mason were intrusted reached England notwithstanding their arrest, renders the question as to the disposition of the persons of the rebel envoys one of secondary moment, and a most inadequate one on which to base a great international struggle. It will be borne in mind that the Administration is still uncommitted on the Trent business. The subject was not mentioned in the President's Message; and the language of Secretary Welles, in his report, and his letter to Captain. Wilkes, are rather professional and personal than diplomatic, and in no degree bind the State Department. Of one thing the public may rest assured, the subject will not be settled without an important curtailment of the English pretensions to enforce a right of search, which she finds it so unpalatable to concede to other Powers".

The Tribune of the same date published the following:-
"Captain Seymour and Mr. Adams's messenger arrived about midnight in consequence of a delay caused by a railway accident. Lord Lyons has detained the Africa on Friday. Nothing can, of course, be known of the despatches till to-morrow, when the President will send a message to the Senate on the subject of our relations with Great Britain, which will be considered in Executive Session.
"A rumour is afloat that the Government has decided to return Messrs. Mason and Slidell; but we are satisfied, after inquiry, that it is untrue.
"The question would not be decided in advance of the receipt of Mr. Adams's despatches, and there has been no Cabinet meeting since yesterday. The Africa will carry to England a despatch from Lord Lyons, containing little more than the intelligence that he has received and delivered to the American Government his instructions from the Foreign-office."

These despatches, it will be seen, entertain the ides of the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, - the first time that the New York press has argued the possibility of their surrender since their seizure.

The detention of the Africa for despatches was settled immediately on receipt of the Europa's advices.

In Congress on December the 16th Mr. Vallandigham (Opposition, Ohio) introduced a preamble and resolution:-
"Whereas, the Secretary or the Navy has reported to this House that Captain Charles Wilkes, in command of the San Jacinto, an armed public vessel of the United States, did, on the 8th of November, 1861, on the high seas, intercept the Trent, a British mail steamer, and forcibly remove therefrom Messrs. James M. Mason and John Slidell, disloyal citizens, leading conspirators, rebel enemies, and dangerous men, who, with their suite, were on their way to Europe to promote the cause of the insurrection, claiming to be the Ambassadors from the Seceded Confederate States; and
"Whereas, the Secretary of the Navy has further reported to this House that the prompt and decisive action of Captain Wilkes on this occasion merited and received the emphatic approval of the Department, and, moreover, in a public letter has thanked Captain Wilkes for the act; and
"Whereas, this House on the first day of the Session did propose to tender the thanks of Congress to Captain Wilkes for his brave, adroit, and patriotic conduct in the arrest of the traitors Messrs. Mason and Slidell; and
" Whereas, on the same day this House did request the President to confine the said James M. Mason and John Slidell in the cells of convicted felons until certain military officers of the United States, captured and held by the so-called Confederate States, should be treated as prisoners of war;
"Therefore be it resolved, as the sense of this House, that it is the duty of the President to now firmly maintain the stand thus taken, approving and adopting the act of Captain Wilkes, in spite of any menace or demand of the British Government; and that this House pledges its full support to him in upholding now the honour and vindicating the courage of the Government and people of the United States against a foreign Power."

Mr. Vallandigham moved the previous question. They had heard the first growl of the British Lion. It remained to be seen who would be cowed.
Mr. Fenton (Republican, New York) hoped the resolution would be referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Vallandigham remarked that a former resolution approbatory of Captain Wilkes was passed without being so referred. He (Vallandigham) had offered this resolution in good faith and would stand by it.
The House then refused to second the demand for the previous question.
Mr. Fenton again moved that the preamble and resolution be referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The motion was agreed to by yeas 109, nays 16.

At 1 p.m. to-day (Dec. 19) a general impression prevailed among well-informed circles that the Washington Cabinet will surrender Messrs. Mason and Slidell if the demand of England is couched in such terms that it can be complied with without hurting the susceptibilities and wounding the national honour of one great nation in its intercourse with another.

The immediate effect of the Europa's news upon the stock and money market on the 16th of December was startling. There was a general fall of about 3 per cent, in the stock-market, and a depreciation in several instances of from 5 to 6 per cent. Western shares fell from 3 to 5 per cent. Sterling exchange rose to 110½ to 111.

The New York Herald, in its edition of December 17, in a characteristic article on England, argued that there was probably $600,000,000 worth of property of various kinds - stocks, Bonds, real estate, merchandise, &c. - belonging to British and French subjects; and, in case of war with England and France, the Herald urged the Government to appropriate the whole of the property of private individuals, and also recommended the Government to prohibit immediately the further export of breadstuffs to Europe.

The Bank statement of December 16 showed an unexpected large decrease in specie, the decrease amounting to nearly three millions, without any specie shipments to Europe. A suspension of specie payments by the Boston, New York, and Philadelphia banks was considered certain, but, contrary to expectation, at a meeting of the banks in New fork on December the 16th it was resolved not to suspend specie payment. The following resolutions were passed unanimously:-
"Whereas, the public mind has become unduly agitated in regard to the financial course to be pursued by the banks and the United States Government, which has led to a premature discussion of a suspension of specie payments; and
"Whereas an examination into the condition of the specie of the country has resulted in the belief that we now hold $80,030,000 of bullion more than we held a year ago, of which a fair proportion is in the banks; and
"Whereas the exports of cereals and provisions have so far exceeded those of former years that, notwithstanding the loss of the cotton crop, our exports far exceed our importations, and there is no demand for foreign exchange to warrant considerable shipments of coin; and
"Whereas, the pending difference with Great Britain will probably prove to be capable of a diplomatic solution through the ordinary channels, or by arbitration, and fears on this score are premature and groundless; and
"Whereas, there is nothing in the position of the loans to the Government to cause uneasiness, and the entire arrears due upon them from the Banks of this city (a considerable part of which is to be reimbursed) do not exceed $21,500,000, provided the Secretary in his draughts therefore will consult their wishes, which may be expected from him from motives of interest and policy, as well as from his promises; and
"Whereas, independently of all these considerations, it is not only unbecoming, but bad faith, for fiduciary agents to refuse the just demands of depositors, unless for clear cause and manifest necessity, and nothing but an entire want of public confidence, or great national considerations, rendering it impossible to comply with all engagements, can ever justify such refusal; therefore be it
"Resolved, that the New York Banks, with assurances from the representatives of banks in Boston and Philadelphia of their co-operation, see no reasonable justification, or necessity for a suspension of specie payments, under the existing state of their relations with the banks of this country, the United States Government, and Europe.
"Relying, therefore, confidently on the harmonious action of the Government on the continued confidence of their depositors, and on the patriotism of the people, they will maintain specie payments."

The America, from Liverpool on the 7th inst., passed Cape Race on the 18th inst., but was not intercepted.

NEW YORK, Dec. 20, Morning.

The latest advices received from Washington this morning report that Lord Lyons had not yet delivered any official despatches to the Federal Government. It is remarked that at the President's Last levée neither the English, French, nor Prussian Minister was present.

Mr. Secretary Chase, at a Bank meeting, expressed an opinion that by January the Federal naval and military operations would give decisive results, and that the British question was capable of and would have a pacific solution.

The 62d and 63d Regiments are under orders at Halifax for Canada.

Th 2 January 1862


There is a lull in the near anticipation of war. The gusts are lessening in their force, and there is a gleam of light to windward. The storm is certainly less boisterous, and we are all hoping, and many are believing, we have seen the worst of it. The Funds are springing upwards with their never-failing elasticity, Commerce is putting on a cheerful smile, war risks are subsiding from their rigorous attitude, and that superstition which enjoins faith in Transatlantic securities is beginning to revive. They who put their hopes in an enduring scarcity of Cotton see in the news of the Africa a reason for holding on, and all of us who have held that the Northerners were too shrewd to commit the blunder of a war with England are beginning to congratulate ourselves upon our prescience. Everything the Africa has brought is of a reassuring kind. The tone of the New York Press has moderated under the influence of the serious and resolute attitude of the British Government. The popular feeling against giving up Mason and Slidell has manifested itself much more temperately since it has been proclaimed that England had proposed their restoration as the only alternative to war. The House of Representatives, echoing the voice of the Press and the public, have refused to identify themselves with the particular act for which they had already voted thanks to their naval officer. The "impression" in New York on the 20th of last December was that the Federal Government will not go to war.

All this is very satisfactory. We should be glad to hang the Royal Exchange with olive branches, and to set up graven images of doves upon all the church steeples. It is, however, our cold, ungracious duty, to dissect impartially the news as it arrives, and to check any too violent exhilaration as promptly as too strong a depression. We all hope for peace, and we all think that the chances are now in favour of peace. When, however, we examine critically the tidings which have just arrived we fail to gather from them that absolute certainty which seems to have taken possession of the commercial mind. In the first place, it is to be remarked that there is in this news, as in all that has preceded it, the same remarkable absence of any expression of opinion by those who will have to decide the great question. Itinerant lecturers, and dilettanti literates, and jovial after-dinner judges, and mayors of towns, and stump orators, and even subordinate members of the Government, have spoken, just as all these classes have spoken before; but as yet the Law Officers of the Federal States, and the President and Foreign Minister of those States, are as silent as they have been throughout this long condition of suspense. All we have to judge from is that, under the influence of the warlike news from England, the House of Representatives have swallowed their resolution of thanks to Wilkes, and the Press and rabble of New York are hushed. This is not a decision. When the lion approaches the douar of the wandering Arab the dogs of the encampment are silent from fear, but it is not therefore certain that the men of that encampment will give up the sheep for which he is roaring without a fight. Our English calculations of peace and war have often varied on insufficient grounds. Public opinion here was influenced a few days ago by the declaration of the New York Press that the Southern Commissioners would never be given up, and the news that the House of Representatives had voted thanks to Wilkes; there is a rebound today because the Press and the mob have changed their tone in the presence of danger, and that the House of Representatives have suddenly stopped short in their enthusiastic applause of an act which, if it were not an act of duty, must have been an act of piracy. But in neither case do the facts authorize any prudent conclusion. We have had the tone of the American Press at different times for war and for peace; so also have we had the vibrating tone of the public meetings; but these tell nothing as to the future in America. We have also had the statements of two Cabinet Ministers upon the same subject, and these also happen to be directly opposed. A few days ago we had the report of the Secretary of the Navy, directly approving the act of the American Captain, and applauding him for his conduct; to-day we see the Secretary of the Federal Treasury assuring the bankers of New York that the British question will have a pacific solution. If the Cabinet of Washington were in any degree like the Cabinet of St. James's this would be capable of intelligible interpretation. If our First Lord of the Admiralty had officially applauded an English Captain for seizing an American packet, and if our Chancellor of the Exchequer had subsequently assured the London bankers that there was to be no difficulty on that account, we should at once conclude either that the Cabinet had changed its mind under a threat of war or that no threat of war had been made. Public policy is not, however, conducted in America as in the countries of Europe. There is no unity, or, to use the word of the day, "solidarity", in the Washington Cabinet. Each head of a Department says and does what he thinks will conduce to his own popularity or to the furtherance of his special duties. The Secretary of the Navy felt it necessary to sustain the enthusiasm of his Department, and piracy and prizemoney were not to be disparaged by him. The Secretary of the Treasury, on the other hand, had to deal with bankers whose solvency from day to day depends entirely upon the possibilities of peace. His business therefore was to make it appear that the war with the South was a temporary difficulty, and that the outrage upon the British flag was no difficulty at all; and so he assured them very confidently that the conquest of the South would be effected in January, and that the British question would be peaceably solved. Between these conflicting authorities it is difficult to arrive at any certain conclusion, and the very fact of their conflict seems to reduce both to mere worthlessness. The inconsistency of these two Ministers suggests the conclusion that they either do not know what the decision will be, or that their knowledge does not influence their statements.

On the 20th of December the tenour of the English despatch had been for several days as well known in Washington as it was in England. If, therefore, the intention was to restore the men, the immediate interest of the Federal Government was to make it known all over the world that there would be no war with England, for that the exposition of International Law given by the English Law Officers would be admitted, and the Southern Commissioners would be given up. Such a declaration would have given to the American loans whatever stability they are capable of receiving, would have sustained, to such an extent as it is capable of being sustained, the American paper currency, and would have given at least a respite to the bankers of New York, and Boston. It was wicked cruelty towards the bankers if Mr. Seward was able to give an intimation of this kind and yet omitted to do so. It was a species of political suicide in Mr. Lincoln not to make such a declaration if he had resolved to give up the Commissioners. In a crisis such as that in which America now is a few days' confidence is worth millions of money. Is it not strange, then, that they give no hint of the surrender of the prisoners? The poor attempts of the newspapers of New York to persuade the public that the English despatch contained "no exorbitant demand relative to the seizure of the traitors" could deceive no one who had seen the English papers. The talk of "private letters from British statesmen," giving assurance that no demand would be made for the surrender of Mason and Slidell, must be either an invention or a reiterated proof how far individuals whom Americans may perhaps think to be "British statesmen" may be misinformed and mischievously active; but such folly could not weigh one scruple with the merchants and bankers who had received their English correspondents' letters by the Jura. We hope there is some better reliance for peace than upon the assurances of these "British statesmen", or "the calm and sensible letter of General Scott and the seasonable and convincing peace speeches of Messrs. Cobden and Bright". We hope that these speeches and letters may not once again have buoyed up the enemies of England with false hopes that she will not maintain her honour, and may not once again induce them to delay reparation until it is too late to listen to her just demands. If this should be so, the peacemongers will for the second time within ten years have brought upon us the scourge of war. Let us hope, however, with the rest of the world, that all will yet be peace; that there is a strong probability that Mason and Slidell will be given up we are all agreed; but until the intelligence as to this point is much more explicit than that yet received, by the Africa, we cannot think that the uncertainty is past.
Th 2 January 1862The annual official return of the condition and situation of every vessel in the navy was published yesterday, under the authority of the Admiralty. From this return it is satisfactory to know that, so far as the navy is concerned, England was never in a prouder position. The number of vessels on the 1st of January was 856 of all rates and classes. There were, besides, 150 line-of-battle and other sailing ships stationed at the various ports in England and the colonies for harbour duty, thus swelling the total to upwards of 1,000 vessels of all descriptions. Of the 856 vessels actually in commission, or building or preparing for service, only 154 are sailing ships, the whole of the remainder being propelled by steam power. The list of vessels is made up of 81 line-of-battle ships, each mounting from 74 to 131 guns; 22 vessels, each with an armament of from 60 to 70 guns; 44 51-gun frigates, the whole, with the exception of about 10 of that number, being screw steamers; 57 ships, each mounting from 22 to 50 guns, and the majority of which have a tonnage as large as ships of the line; 29 screw corvettes, or frigates, each mounting 22 guns; 317 screw and paddlewheel steamers, each carrying less than 22 guns; and 185 screw gunboats, each provided with two Armstrong guns. The following screw ships of the line, and other steamers, composed the squadron on the coast of North America, under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Milne, K.C.B., on the 1st of January, exclusive of the vessels of war now on their passage to that station:- The Conqueror, 101, 800-horse power; the Donegal, 93, 800-horse power; the Nile, 91, 500-horse power; the Hero, 91, 500-horse power; the Agamemnon, 90, 600-horse power; the St. George, 90, 500-horse power; the Aboukir, 86, 400-horse power; the Sanspareil, 70, 400-horse power; the Immortalité, 51, 600-horse power; the Liffey, 51, 600-horse power, the Phaeton, 51, 400-horse power; the Melpomene, 51, 600-horse power; the Orlando, 51, 1,000-horse power; the Mersey, 40, 1,000-horse power; the Diadem, 32, 800-horse power; the Ariadne, 26, 800-horse power; the Challenger, 22, 400-horse power; the Cadmus, 21, 400-horse power; the Jason, 21, 400-horse power; the Orpheus, 21, 400-horse power; the Greyhound, 17, 200-horse power; the Rinaldo, 17, 200-horse power; the Racer, 11, 150-horse power; the Desperate, 7, 400-horse power; the Bulldog, 6, 500-horse power; the Barracouta, 6, 300-horse power; the Hydra, 6, 220-horse power; the Medea, 6, 350-horse power; the Spiteful, 6, 230-horse power; the Nimble, 5, 80-horse power; the Steady, 5, 80-horse power; the Plover, 5, 80-horse power; the Landrail, 5, 80-horse power; and the Cygnet, 5, 80-horse power. The squadron stationed on the South-East Coast of America, under the command of Rear-Admiral R.L. Warren, consisted of the Forte, 51, 400-horse power; the Curacoa, 31, 350-horse power; the Satellite, 21, 400-horse power; the Curlew, 9, 60-horse power; the Stromboli, 6, 230-horse power; and the Ardent, 3, 200-horse power. The fleet composing the Mediterranean squadron, under the orders of Vice-Admiral Sir W.F. Martin, K.C.B., consisted of 29 vessels of all rates, several of which, however, have received orders to return to England for service elsewhere. During the past year the following vessels were completed and launched from the various Royal and private dockyards:- The Defiance, 91, 3,475 tons, 800-horse power; the Perseus, 17, 955 tons, 200-horse power; the Shearwater, 11, 669 tons, 150-horse power; the Pandora, 5, 426 tons, 80-horse power; the Aurora, 51, 2,558 tons, 400-horse power, at Pembroke; the Bristol, 51, 3,027 tons, 600-horse power, at Woolwich; the Glasgow, 51, 3,038 tons, 600-horse power; and the Chanticleer, 17, 950 tons, 290-horse power, at Portsmouth; the Rattlesnake, 21, 1,705 tons, 400-horse power, at Chatham; the Speedwell, 5, 428 tons, 80-horse power, at Deptford; the Black Prince, 36, 6,039 tons, 1,250-horse power, at Glasgow; the Defence, 18, 3,668 tons, 600-horse power, at Newcastle; the Resistance, 18, 3,668 tons, 600-horse power, at Poplar; and the Lily, 4, 695 tons, 200-horse power, at Millwall. The following is the list of the vessels of war now in course of construction, with the places at which they are building:- The Achilles (iron), 50 guns, 6,079 tons, 1,250-horse power - Chatham; the Africa, 4 guns, 659 tons, 150-horse power - Devonport; the Agincourt (iron), 50 guns, 6,621 tons, 1,250-horse power - Birkenhead; the Alligator, 22 guns, 1,857 tons, 400-horse power - Woolwich; the Belvidera, 51 guns, 3,027 tons, 600-horse power - Chatham; the Bulwark, 91 guns, 3,716 tons, 800 horse power - Chatham; the Caledonia (iron-cased), 50 guns, 4,045 tons, 800-horse power - Woolwich; the Columbine, 4 guns, 669 tons, 150-horse power - Deptford; the Dartmouth, 36 guns, 2,478 tons, 500-horse power - Woolwich; the Dromedary, 4 guns, 500 tons, 100-horse power - Millwall; the Dryad, 51 guns, 3,027 tons, 600-horse power - Portsmouth; the Enchantress, 4 guns, 835 tons, 250-horse power - Pembroke; the Endymion, 36 guns, 2,478 tons, 500-horse power - Deptford; the Enterprise, 4 guns, 669 tons, 150-horse power - Deptford; the Favorite, 22 guns, 1,623 tons, 400-horse power - Deptford; the Guernsey, 4 guns, 695 tons, 200-horse power - Pembroke; the Harlequin, 6 guns, 950 tons, 200-horse power - Portsmouth; the Hector (iron), 32 guns, 4,063 tons, 800-horse power - Glasgow; the Helicon, 4 guns, 835 tons, 250-horse power - Portsmouth; the Ister, 36 guns, 3,027 tons, 500-horse power - Devonport; the Jaseur, 5 guns, 425 tons, 80-horse power - Deptford; the Menai, 22 guns, 1,857 tons, 400-horse power - Chatham; Minotaur (iron), 50 guns, 6,621 tons, 1,250-horse power - Blackwall; the Myrmidon, 4 guns, 660 tons, 200-horse power - Chatham; the Nassau, 4 guns, 695 tons, 200-horse power - Pembroke; the Newport, 5 guns, 425 tons, 80-horse power - Pembroke; the North Star, 22 guns, 1,623 tons, 400-horse power - Sheerness; the Ocean (iron-cased), 50 guns, 4,045 tons, 1,000-horse power - Devonport; the Orontes (iron), 3 guns, 2,812 tons, 500-horse power - Blackwall; the Psyche, 4 guns, 835 tons, 250-horse power - Pembroke; the Rattler, 17 guns, 951 tons, 200-horse power - Deptford; the Reindeer, 17 guns, 951 tons, 200-horse power - Chatham; the Repulse, 89 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Woolwich; the Robust, 89 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Devonport; the Royal Alfred (iron-cased), 50 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Portsmouth; the Royal Oak (iron-cased), 50 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Chatham; the Salamis, 4 guns, 835 tons, 250-horse power - Chatham; the Sappho, 6 guns, 950 tons, 200-horse power - Deptford; the Sylvia, 4 guns, 695 tons, 200-horse power - Woolwich; the Tamar (iron), 3 guns, 2,812 tons, 500-horse power - Millwall; the Tartarus, 4 guns, 835 tons, 200-horse power, Pembroke; the Trent, 6 guns, 950 tons, 200-horse power - Pembroke; the Triumph (iron-cased), 50 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power -Pembroke; the Tweed, 51 guns, 3,027 tons, 600-horse power - Pembroke; the Salient (iron), 32 guns, 4,063 tons, 800-horse power - Millwall; the Wolverine, 21 guns, 1,623 tons, 400-horse power - Woolwich; the Zealous, 89 guns, 3,716 tons, 800-horse power - Pembroke.
Th 2 January 1862


LIVERPOOL, Thursday.

The Royal Mail steamship Africa, Captain Shannon, which left New York on the 20th, at 6 45 a.m., has arrived. Her advices have been partially anticipated by express, via Holyhead.

The following vessels of war were in New York harbour: - Two French frigates, two ditto paddle steamers, two English corvettes, and one ditto gunboat.

The Cunard steamship America, with advices from Queenstown to the 8th, passed Cape Race on the night of the 18th, but refused to be boarded.

In the Senate, on the 19th, Mr. Willey(Union), of Virginia, offered a resolution that the existing war was forced upon the country by the States in rebellion without provocation, it was designed to destroy the Union and Constitution, and their purpose was to disavow and repudiate the fundamental principles of a Republican Government. He proceeded to speak at some length on the resolution, contending that the rebellion was perfectly unjustifiable. In no country was life more secure and civil and religious liberty more perfect. The country had been in unexampled prosperity, and especially was the South favoured, and there consequently could be no grievance to cause the rebellion, as a Virginian Senator and slaveholder had declared that the South always got what was demanded. He commended the proclamation of those Generals who had declared that it was not their intention to interfere with legal institutions, and expressed his gratification that the President in his Message had re-declared fidelity to the Constitution. He declared that by no efforts of his should slavery be extended, though he believed it necessary for the present that the African race should be kept in bondage. He gave a brief sketch of the rise of Secession, and declared that it was the result of a long concerted conspiracy, as avowed by the leaders of the rebellion. He argued at some length against the doctrine of Secession, and contended that the real cause of Secession was hostility to the Democratic principles of Republican Government. Without finishing, Mr. Willey gave way to a motion for an executive Session.

The Senate adjourned to the 6th of January. A Message was received from the President on foreign relations, in which document no allusion was made to the affair of the Trent, but the Gulf expedition was gravely alluded to.

In the House of Representatives on the 19th a Bill was passed authorizing the construction of 20 iron-clad gunboats.

The New York World of the 19th says:-
"It would seem as if Lord Lyons might be apprehensive that the demand he is required to make would be more peremptory than a correct knowledge of the facts would warrant. Why has he detained the Africa? Yesterday was her regular day, and she is detained, by his direction, until to-day. He would have received his despatches, brought by the Europa, at 6 o'clock last evening, and the steamer will have sailed before he can possibly expect a reply from our Government. May we not safely conjecture that it is a wise foresight on the part of Lord Lyons to prevent the consequences of too hasty action? He knows perfectly what his Government does not yet seem to understand, that Captain Wilkes intended the reverse of a discourtesy, and if he should find the demands of his Government too peremptory for the circumstances, he probably wishes to state that opinion and await farther instructions, issued on fuller information, before shutting the door against a diplomatic solution. If he believes that a removal of the misapprehensions that exist in England would immediately restore friendly relations, such a course would reflect credit on his wisdom and magnanimity. Knowing that Captain Wilkes intended a courtesy, Lord Lyons probably will not allow his Government to act as if Captain Wilkes had intended an insult in not bringing in the Trent for adjudication."

In another article the World says:-
"Neither nation desires war. The interests of each alike strongly urge against it. But neither will submit to a supposed belligerent spirit on the part of the other. Both are determined not to be bullied; and so each prepares to fight against its grain, under the false notion that the other is fixed upon having a fight. It is all wrong, and the public journals which are infusing that feeling, and inflaming the passions thereby engendered, involve themselves in fearful guilt. This malign influence must be neutralized. Englishmen must be made to realize the fact that in the taking of Mason and Slidell no insult was intended to their flag; and that the whole course of action was dictated by a considerate and courteous spirit. They should be made to understand that if there was irregularity in the exercise of an undoubted belligerent right, it came, as was the fact, from a regard to their interests, and not from any disposition on our part to carry things with a high hand. Let that right impression, once be brought home to them, and the danger of the case will vanish at once. All depends upon England's conception of the animus which governed the transaction. An unintentional affront is no affront at all. We say, then, that the American press, which is everywhere regarded as the exponent of American sentiment, should avoid all exultation and defiance; and be governed by the same urbane spirit which we are all sure ruled Commodore Wilkes in his noble act. If public opinion here should express itself in that key, opinion upon the other side would soon right itself, and the two Cabinets would be left free to bring the whole matter to a speedy and satisfactory settlement."

Alluding to the hostile feeling in Canada, the same paper says: - "Whatever may betide us now, we are ultimately victorious, and Canada will do well to remember it."

The New York Times of the 19th says:-
"ln seizing Messrs. Mason and Slidell Captain Wilkes either did or did not conform to the well-established principles of international law. If the act was not warranted by the code we shall make the proper amends. If it was, we shall hold, without objection, the prisoners. No cause for war exists. No cause is desired on either side. Such we understand to be the position of our Government, by which we learn that no apprehensions of a rupture of friendly relations exist. It does not seek to disguise its opinions upon this matter. It wants no war with England on any pretext, and especially it wants none in such a crisis as the present. It well understands the secret of the zeal displayed in certain quarters in its behalf in the new emergency, and of the gratulations of the rebels over the threatened rupture between it and England. The prospect of such a war has enlisted even Mr. Villandigham and Mr. Cox ardently in the support of Government in its vigorous prosecution. Not an instant's time is to be lost, according to these gentlemen, in pitching in. In such a war they see the safe deliverance of the rebellion. But in all this they are doomed to speedy disappointment. As soon as the two countries can make up a statement of the case between them, all differences will be speedily reconciled. While no apprehension need be felt in reference to any captious action by our Government, we have equal confidence that the despatches from the British Government will be in a similar tone. The communications between the two will have little in common with the ebullitions of popular feeling on either side. These were caused by apprehension and alarm at the consequences of war, not by any desire for one, which is universally deprecated by the great majority on both sides. We predict we shall get out of this embroglio, into which we were entangled without any design of our own, as speedily as we fell into it."

The New York Skipping List, of the 18th, says:-
"The effusions of the British press generally are very wild. In the absence of anything official, however, there need be felt no apprehension of a disruption of the friendly relations between the two countries. The reports that the British Government has determined to adhere to its own interpretation of the law, and treat this as a case to be settled only by an imperative demand, the demand to be accompanied with an offensive menace, and that the special messenger said to have been despatched by the Europa is the bearer of England's ultimatum, appear to us to be too absurd for a moment's credence. If international law has been violated, it is assuredly a question to be settled by diplomatic discussion rather than by war, and we doubt not it will be so adjudged by the British Government. At all events, until it is definitely settled to the contrary, we shall continue to adhere to the belief that neither the British or American Government has the least desire to engage in hostilities, and that, so long as there is no intent on either hand to provoke a war, there can be none. If the action of Captain Wilkes was a violation of the law of nations, there is little doubt that an apology will be offered. If it was not, then, if the demand for an apology has really been put forth by the British Government, it will doubtless he withdrawn. Both Governments are doubtless open to conviction; in view of which, though things may look rather squally for the moment, all disputed points, in our opinion, may be settled by diplomacy. The Royal proclamation prohibiting the shipment of articles contraband of war is in accordance with Queen Victoria's previous proclamation of neutrality."

The New York Journal of Commerce concludes an article as follows:-
"There is very little in all this to fight about. If England claims the inviolability of her decks in war as in peace, she will back out on a proposal to make a treaty to that effect. If she asks an apology, she cannot have it till she apologizes for her Consul's misdeed, and by so doing she will admit the right of our deed. If she demands the giving up of Mason and Slidell, we will call our children together and consider the matter."

The New York Herald, of the 17th, says:-
"England cannot afford to go to war with us, for the conflict, sooner or later, would involve the loss of her West India islands, of Canada, and the adjoining provinces, and, last and most fatal of all, the loss of Ireland, her right arm in war, her granary in peace. England cannot go to war with us, for $600,000,000 worth of American stock is owned by British subjects, which, in the event of hostilities, would be confiscated; and we now call upon the companies not to take it off their hands upon any terms. Let its forfeiture be held over England as a weapon in terrorem. British subjects have $200,000,000 or $300,000,000 invested in shipping and other property in the United States. All this property, together with the stocks, would be seized, amounting to $900,000,000 in all Will England incur this tremendous loss for a mere abstraction? For the purpose of intimidating us she issues a proclamation prohibiting the export of saltpetre, arms, or ammunition. We have saltpetre in the Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky, and other parts of the country, which, if properly worked, will render us independent of England; and can manufacture arms and ammunition for ourselves. But in a more vital point she is not equally independent of us. We can place an embargo on all breadstuffs, and the effect of that measure would be to starve her population in three months. We can prevent her getting a pound of cotton. All she can do in return is to blockade Northern ports. But we will shut them up against her ourselves, if she proceeds much farther in her hostile course. We can live independent of her and all the world. We have a vast and fertile country, with boundless resources, and all that a nation needs within. We could prosper if we had not a single ship, and every port were closed. Our own internal trade and manufactures would be ample to sustain a large mercantile class. Not so England. She is an artificial nation, like Venice of old, depending entirely upon her maritime commerce. Let that be struck down, and where is she? It is in our power to give it a death-blow. We can spare from our merchant marine 6,000 ships for privateers. We can arm them and send them over the ocean to sweep her commerce from the face of the deep. In her present circumstances, a few months of such warfare would ruin her. The greatest injury she could inflict upon us would be a little inconvenience - the deprivation of a few luxuries by no means essential to the welfare of a great nation. But the maritime prestige of England once destroyed, and her commerce cut up in every sea, she would sink immediately to the position of a poor third or fourth-rate Power, destined soon, perhaps, to become an appendage of France. What has happened once may happen again. Venice, so mighty for 1,300 years, and the greatest maritime nation of the world, what is she now? Where is now the glory of Carthage and Tyre? Spain, Portugal, and the Dutch Republic have in turn ruled the waves. But they have lost the trident, and England, which has succeeded to the empire of the seas, sees her sway gradually transferred to the Western World. Hence her jealousy of the American Republic, and her desire to split it into powerless fragments. But a war with us would hasten her downfall, and precipitate the fate she is so anxious to avert. In the event of England, in her folly, declaring war against the United States, the annexation of the British North American possessions, to which Mr. Seward looked forward in his speeches made before the present Administration came into office, will inevitably follow. Between Vermont and Minnesota we could pour 150,000 troops into Canada in a week, and overrun the province in three weeks more. It would take a longer time to capture the citadel of Quebec, but still time would do the work. In this invasion we should be aided by a large portion of the inhabitants, two-thirds of whom are in favour of annexation to the United States."
Th 2 January 1862While war with the federal States of America appeared more certainly unavoidable than it is thought at this moment, few things caused more indignation in this country than the threat of confiscating all English, property in the States. It was not that any exceptional sympathy was felt for the persons who had been so credulous as to embark money in a country already tarnished by repudiation. Promises of high interest mean only, as we have been told by high authority, bad security for the principal. People who lend money at even 60 per cent. generally come to grief, and they who lend their money at 7 per cent. tacitly admit that they are running a certain chance of never getting it back. But this ready threat of wholesale robbery showed such a reckless want of principle in the Press and people on the other side of the Atlantic that it excited a general feeling of disgust even among those who are not so unfortunate as to be holders of American securities. That English money should be lost in the general vortex of financial ruin in America is one thing, but that it should be wilfully and exceptionally seized is altogether a different suggestion. This would be an outrage which England could not retaliate. We could not punish repudiation by repudiation. We must pay our debts for our own credit's sate, whatever the Americans may do; and we believe that, if we were going to war to-morrow with any country in the Old or New World, the very last thing to be suggested by any respectable journalist or public speaker would be the possibility of confiscating the English investments made by our enemies. During our Russian war no one on either side dreamt of asking the nationality of any public creditor; and if the forms of business sometimes required the intervention of a neutral name, it was a mere form. America, on the other hand, has, through her Press, which has an almost diplomatic importance where the multitude is sovereign, always made this threat upon the occurrence of the slightest difficulty. In 1839 Mr. Seward, the present Foreign Minister, found such an apprehension in the way of his business, and in a letter, which we insert elsewhere, he laboured to convince our mercantile classes that "no person in America ever dreamt that their Government could be guilty of so gross a violation of faith as to confiscate in time of war money invested in American securities in time of peace."

It is not an inopportune moment to remind this American statesman of his own declarations. Some of the papers which have the largest circulation, and which, by the character of their intelligence, are evidently in communication with members of the Government, are daily reiterating that the first act of hostility in case of war will not be against a public enemy, but against private creditors. These threats are put forward by the American papers only as a reason why they should be permitted to inflict insults upon our flag, and to deter us from demanding reparation for them. "We could," says the New York Herald, "in a single day strike a terrible blow at the financial power of England, in the confiscation of the nine hundred millions of bonds, stocks, and property of all kinds held in this country by British subjects." Again, the same popular organ says, - "England cannot go to war with us, for six hundred millions worth of American stock is owned by British subjects, which, in the event of hostilities, would be confiscated and we now call upon the companies not to take it off their hands upon any terms. Let its forfeiture be held over England as a weapon in terrorem." Perhaps, it is not of much practical advantage to contrast the assurances of American statesmen by which our countrymen were lured into these investments with the threats of wholesale robbery by which their confidence is repaid. Perhaps, it is of little effect to recall to the minds of those who have stepped upon this quicksand the glowing pictures of safety and stability by which the prime encomiasts of Democracy tempted them to the venture. America has been in all modern times a great grave of English fortunes. Legitimate trade has been generally advantageous to both Continents; speculations and investments have, for the most part, been disastrous. What millions of English gold have been sunk in the regions of the South, - what mountains of English savings have been swallowed up in the rotten adventures and repudiated loans of the North! These are losses which we have endured with more or less equanimity; but, although Sydney Smith insisted upon casting the whole onus upon the American people, and bade them elect their churchwardens and levy their rate of infamy among themselves, we have always been prone to take their view of the matter, and to hold only each company and each State responsible for their individual defalcations. The threat now put forward is, however, an act of dishonesty of a Federal character. We are not very much surprised to find a nation which proposes to hang privateer prisoners as pirates, and which professed anxiety to protect all private property from war risks, boasting that "within six months we could place such a swarm of swift steam privateers on the ocean as would render English commerce unsafe from Nova Scotia to Australia"; but we confess that we are surprised to see even the Americans ostentatiously declaring to the world upon what slender contingencies of peace or war the property of foreigners invested in America hangs. The privateering matter shows only how principle in that country is made to bend to momentary advantages; the Confiscation proposition shows how far common honesty can be lost sight of in moments of anger.

We are writing in hope that the war-cloud has now blown over, and that the telegram forwarded by Mr. Seward to the New York Bankers has been verified by the release of the prisoners. At this moment the question of peace or war rests, not upon menaces from Washington or foolish letters and speeches from England, but upon a fact. Captain Wilkes has had his fact, and we must have ours. He has taken these men from our protection, and they must be returned to our protection. Every waggish joke, such as that the Trent shall go back and be recaptured - every truculent threat, such as that America will rob her English creditors if England does not submit to be insulted, - is now beside the question. The only reason for mentioning them is lest their authors should be unfortunately induced to put some faith in them. What we think of arbitration in such a case as this the Americans may gather from the proceedings yesterday at a public meeting in Mr. Bright's own borough of Birmingham, where the friends of arbitration were beaten at their own meeting by an overwhelming majority. We wish we could show them in an equally public manner what the holders of American securities think. That they hope for peace, even as the Birmingham men hope for peace, and as we all hope for peace, is emphatically true; but no one of them would put his American securities, whether valuable or worthless, in balance against his feelings as an Englishman, nor would desire peace any otherwise than so far as it is consistent with the honour of his country. Let us speak frankly, for it is by frankness that we shall avoid war. If the two peoples understand each other, there will be no war. The only question is, shall we or shall we not have these prisoners? If, unfortunately, the Americans should be deluded by their own Press, or by the few noisy talkers on this side, into a belief that England will be satisfied with what is less than just, or will be intimidated by fear of robbery or violence from insisting upon the restoration of these prisoners, then the present soft words and pacific assurances mean nothing. In such a case America will sink once more into a fools' paradise, and be awakened to a sad reality.
Fr 3 January 1862English Advices for America. - The following is the list of steamers which have left this country since the departure of the Europa City of Washington, and Jura, the news of the arrival of which in America has reached this country per Africa, viz.: - The America, left England December 7, due in America December 21; the City of Edinburgh, left England December 11, due in America December 24; the Arago, left England December 21, due in America December 24; the Nova Scotian, left England December 12, due in America December 22; the Niagara, left England December 14, due in America December 27; the Borussia, left England December 18, due in America December 31; the Etna, left England December 18, due in America December 31; the Norwegian, left England December 19, due in America December 30; the Asia, left England December 21, due in America January 2. The America passed Cape Race on December 18. General Scott went out in the Arago. It is probable that letters from Mr. Thurlow Weed, who came to Europe with General Scott, were sent out in the Arago. It is likely also that the despatches of Mr. Adams, the Federal Ambassador in London, and which would determine the period for the reply of the Federal Cabinet to the demands of Lord Lyons on the affair of the Trent, went out in the Arago. The views of France, Austria, and Prussia on the Trent affair must have gone out in one of the above-named steamers to their respective Ambassadors at Washington. The news of the naval and military preparations in England would reach America by the steamers in question. The Nova Scotian and Norwegian would stop at Portland; the Niagara would call at Halifax, and stop at Boston. All the other vessels were bound direct for New York. It is possible that the news carried out by all the steamers reached New York and Washington, via Cape Race, from two to three days earlier than the dates upon which the vessels themselves were due. -Express.
Sa 4 January 1862


One of the most astonishing characteristics of the American people is the ignorance which they show in discussing the power and resources of other nations as compared with their own. They are well educated, they are enlightened, they had till lately a free Press, they are given to foreign travel, and it was their justifiable boast that in no country was useful knowledge more universally diffused. Nevertheless, their delusions on the subject of their own omnipotence and invulnerability are as strange as any ever entertained by the Chinese themselves. They have been so flattered and befooled by their own mob orators that they have lost all measure of their real strength. Their few isolated victories in the war of 1812 have been made the foundation of such, a blind presumption, as would befit some semi-barbarous Eastern Court rather than a sensible and well-instructed Anglo-Saxon nation. The key-note of their boasting is that the British conquered the world, and that they conquered the British. They might as well style themselves Lords of the Earth and Brothers of the Sun and Moon. They never conquered us at all, and the little that they did fifty years ago they would have a very poor chance of doing again. What consummates the prodigy is that they enter into circumstantial calculations of their power, and, with ample proof to the contrary staring them in the face, establish to their own satisfaction that they can crush, ruin, and destroy any nation, or all the nations of the world together, while no nation is capable of doing them any sensible harm. As an example of these wonderful self-delusions we take their estimate of the British and Federal Navies, which they have worked out, at any rate on their own side, with elaborate detail, Their conclusion, as illustrated in the extract which we yesterday gave from American journals, is, that they could sweep our commerce from the face of the ocean, destroy our maritime renown, annihilate us as Tyre and Sidon were annihilated, and reduce us immediately to the position of "a poor fourth-rate Power," to become, probably, "an appendage to France". All this while they, the Federal States, would enjoy perfect immunity from the evils of war, and, excepting that they might possibly lose a few luxuries, would thrive and prosper, independently of the world, sustained by the boundless and all-sufficing resources of a vast and fertile country. When we look to the means proposed for achieving all these triumphs, we are told that the Northern States would, on a declaration of war, equip and arm 6,000 privateers to drive us from the face of the deep.

It is as well, perhaps, that in this estimate then was no mention of ships of war. What the Federal Navy was at the commencement of the Civil War we showed a few weeks ago; what it is now we can explain this morning. As the emergency was pressing, the Federal Government at once resolved on purchasing a whole fleet of vessels from the mercantile marine. They spent on this service about a million and a half of money, and bought up apparently every floating thing at hand that would carry a gun or two. They did not even confine themselves to steamers, but snapped up old sailing brigs, barks, and schooners, which they added to packet-vessels, tugs, and ferry-boats, and so "reconstructed " their Navy. That Navy, therefore, which six months ago consisted of about half-a-dozen serviceable frigates and twice as many serviceable sloops, now comprises, in addition, 35 paddle wheel steamers, 43 screw steamers 13 ships, 18 barks, and 23 schooners, all picked up in the various Federal ports since July last. This, as far as ships of war go, is the force on which they rely to contend against a Navy of a thousand vessels, including 80 ships of the line 100 powerful frigates, and swarms of smaller craft admirably built and armed. Admiral Milne's squadron alone included on the 1st of this month eight ships of the line, as many heavy frigates six corvettes, and eleven lighter steamers or gunboats. A telegram from the Admiralty could double or treble it at the shortest notice. A to reinforcing such a marine by purchased merchantmen, we could add a thousand steamers to it in a month, if the idea could be entertained. As it is, we are going rather on the opposite tack If the good people of the Northern States will but look at the Naval Intelligence given in these columns, they will see that, instead of buying, we are selling. A very pretty little fleet of frigates and sloops is just now on sale at our dockyards, most of them newer and better vessels than those which formed the sailing Navy of America a few months back, and all infinitely superior to the bargains by which it has since been increased. This survey, too, will materially assist us in appreciating the grand scheme of sweeping us from the ocean by the guns of 6,000 privateers. If the Northern Americans, acting under the strongest stimulus, and with a prodigality of outlay beyond all bounds, have only been able to equip and arm some 150 merchantmen of all descriptions in the course of six months, - not half of these being seaworthy, - we may guess what success they would experience in turning out about forty times that number to sweep England from the ocean.

But there is a good deal more to he said on this point. The Americans here, as everywhere else, are lost in dreams of a bygone age. It is clear that if much was to be done by privateering we, as being infinitely stronger, could do more than they. If such a game were to be played, we could send out three privateers to their one, our ships being no longer inferior in sailing qualities, but a match for any vessels in the world. Our privateers would be as certain in the long run to beat theirs as our Royal Navy would to beat their ships of war. It is far more probable, however, that the days of privateering would be found to be past. Steam has now superseded sails, and steamers require not only greater original outlay and organization, but convenient ports for fitting and coaling. A steam privateer could hardly keep the sea more than ten days at a time. Our large mail packets would carry guns, and would be unassailable by any but ships of war, of which it is to be hoped Admiral Milne would soon give a good account. Then, again, the electric telegraph has so improved communications that the first sight of a hostile sail on this side of the Atlantic would set every port and every guardship on the alert, and supposing, after all, that an American privateer should succeed, as no doubt she might, in snapping up a prize, where is she to dispose of it? She could not carry it into any European port, and our blockading squadrons would take good care that she got into no port of her own. The Americans, in short, could never send out "6,000 privateers," nor a twentieth part of the number; if they did so, and privateering was found to be an effective service, we could beat them hollow at their own game; but the probability is that the system would never answer in these times as it did in times past.

Equally marvellous, again, is the delusion of the Americans about their own invulnerability all this while, and their absolute independence of foreign trade. The first effect of our blockade would be to deprive them at a blow of their Customs and their cotton - in other words, of the raw material for their home manufactures, and the chief source of their ordinary revenue. At the same moment, the very embargo which they boast they could themselves lay on their breadstuffs would rob the Western States of the profits of their agriculture, and convert communities already uneasy into disloyal and disaffected States. Is the Federal Government prepared to encounter these perils, and in an unjust cause? We should think not, but such are the hallucinations which a long course of flattery has engendered in the American mind that it is impossible to predict the policy which the people may dictate. In this crisis of their destinies, when a war with England would, comparatively speaking, be sport to us, though death to them, they are persuading themselves that the advantages are all on their side, and the risks on ours. With a Navy scarcely more formidable than that of Italy or Spain, they are not only defying, but menacing, the chief maritime Power of the world, and all this they are doing in the light of day and with abundant information to guide them to a better judgment. Under such circumstances, who can calculate on their course?
Sa 4 January 1862



The North, German Lloyd screw steamer Hansa, Captain H.J. Von Santen, arrived off Cowes at 8 a.m., and went on to Bremen, after transshipping mails, &c, for this port. She brings 71 passengers for Southampton and Bremen, $209,000 in specie for England, $50,000 for Havre, and about 3,000 tons of merchandise, of which 350 tons are for England. Rough weather and heavy southeasterly winds have been experienced on the passage.

The Hansa brings one day's later papers than the Africa. No official communication had yet been made by Lord Lyons to Mr. Secretary Seward on the Trent affair. The latest telegram from Washington to the New York Times is as follows:-
"Washington, Dec. 20.
"If any correspondence has taken place between Lord Lyons and Secretary Seward it has been of an informal and confidential character, as no official communications have passed between them with reference to the Trent affair. Later. - Lord Lyons had an interview with our Government to-day, in which the Trent affair was informally talked over. The official despatches of Her Majesty's Government have not yet been presented, but the impression so generally prevails that there is no danger of war with England that the interest in the subject has in a great degree subsided.
"The despatches received from Mr. Adams are based upon the tone of the English press and the feeling of the people, which he represents as extremely excited and hostile towards the United States. Private letters received generally are of the same tenour, though some, coming from very intelligent parties, state that there is an undercurrent of popular feeling adverse to the national passion which was so offensively exhibiting itself in the press and other mediums of popular opinion. No unusual despatches have been forwarded by the Government to our Ministers in England and France. Events must await the slow course of diplomacy."

The Washington correspondent of the Herald telegraphs as follows to that journal:-
"Washington, Dec. 20.
"Lord Lyons has had two confidential conferences to-day with Mr. Seward, but up to 11 o'clock to-night no written formal communication has been had, and no demand whatever has yet been made upon our Government by the British Minister. The conferences between Lord Lyons and Mr. Seward were of the most cordial and friendly character. Captain Seymour, the Queen's messenger, did not return in the Africa, as was intended. The America's mails are anxiously looked for by our Government as well as by Lord Lyons, and it is not unlikely that his Lordship will withhold his demand upon our Government until they arrive. It is not true, as telegraphed yesterday to New York papers, that the President called a meeting of the Cabinet. None whatever has been held on the subject. There is good ground for believing that the text of my despatch forwarded last night reflects about the position that the British Government will take. The same idea is reflected in the admirable letter of General Scott, which, by the way, is very highly spoken of by English and American statesmen here. It is believed to have had excellent effect upon the British mind, as an eminent British lawyer, who stands near the law officers of the Crown, so indicates in a private letter received here. It is believed that Lord Lyons will pass over the questions of contraband, despatches, and the character of the traitors Mason and Slidell, and rest his demand upon the narrow ground so clearly presented by General Scott, that we should have seized the Trent, taken her into port, and had her condemned by a prize court in order to justify our seizure of her passengers. Stated in other words, our offence would have been less if it had been greater.
It is assuming the ground that the wrong done to the British flag would have been mitigated if, instead of seizing the four rebels, we had seized the ship, detained all her passengers for weeks and confiscated her cargo. Strange as it may seem, I have excellent official authority for asserting that, from present appearances, the whole question will settle down upon that pretence. The President said this morning, in response to a question by a Senator, 'I don't think we shall have a war with England in the next 10 days.' It is argued in high quarters that the United States would be benefitted by a war with England, on the ground that we should be immediately relieved of the present enormous expense of keeping up the blockade, and could turn our guns upon the splendid commerce of Great Britain; that our people are just in a fighting mood; that in a few months we shall have one of the most magnificent and well drilled armies the world ever saw, with nothing else to do except to whip John Bull for the third time. This kind of reasoning is not very popular among the officers of the Government, but is really a sentiment emanating from a source entitled to consideration."

The correspondent of the Tribune says:-
"Washington, Dec. 20.
"Although Lord Lyons has not yet presented any formal communication from his Government to the Secretary of State, it is certain that the Trent affair was discussed in an informal conversation at their interview yesterday. They have not since met, nor has the Cabinet been convened, although Friday is the regular day for its meetings. None of Lord John Russell's diplomatic notes having been presented nothing of their contents can be known. But the opinion gains ground among those best informed on the subject, and is supported by private letters from prominent English politicians, that the question will be presented in a shape which will leave the door open to negotiation, and it is believed in official circles that the difficulty will be amicably and honourably adjusted without recourse to war. This is the complexion of to-night's intelligence. An important English letter by the Europa, from one familiar with English opinion, especially in high political circles, suggests emancipation and arming of the slaves as calculated to counteract the war feeling in England. No Englishman would willingly range himself on the side of slavery. They insist now that both sides are for slavery, with perhaps only a difference in degree."

The papers are all writing in a much more moderate tone on the Mason and Slidell question; witness the following from the New York Times of the 21st ult.:-
"The discussions in which, the newspaper press, in common with ourselves, indulged upon the seizure of Messrs. Slidell and Mason on the steamer Trent, and the approval of the same, were all based upon the assumption that with the rebel emissaries were captured their despatches, which were to be our evidence to vindicate the act. We stated at the time that Captain Wilkes did not go far enough; that with the rebels and their despatches he should have brought in the ship conveying them for adjudication in a Court of Admiralty. Unfortunately this was not done, and it now turns out that only the persons of the rebels were taken, while their despatches went forward in the steamer. Captain Wilkes thus allowed both the subject-matter of adjudication, with the proofs to be presented to secure it, to escape. It may be entirely competent for an officer to visit and search, and, in case articles contraband of war are found on a ship of a neutral nation, to bring her into port. But here his authority ends. He is the bailiff, not the Court. His office is purely ministerial, not judicial. Did he not, then (from the best of motives, to be sure), commit a grave oversight, leaving us no choice but to make the proper amends, whatever these maybe? No Court has jurisdiction unless the subject-matter to be passed upon is within its reach, so that its judgments can take effect either upon persons or property. The subject here was the steamer or some article contraband of war. Were the rebels such? Can they be adjudicated upon as contraband in a Court of Admiralty? Is not their offence of a nature entirely different? If, then, we have no competent proof with which to condemn the ship, and as she is out of our jurisdiction if we had, no judgment in the case can be passed. Are we not, then, bound to restore matters to their original status, which would involve the return of the rebel Ministers? It appears to us as not at all improbable that such a view of the case was taken by the Administration from the outset, or as soon as it came to a full knowledge of the facts, and communicated by it at an early day to the British Minister or Government. Without vouching for it, we have heard it intimated that such was the fact. The entire silence of the President in his Message to Congress at least indicates that the case was not clear of difficulty, or was then a matter of negotiation. This reticence upon this subject was a subject of general surprise, not at all in keeping with the feeling of satisfaction which everywhere prevailed at the mortification and punishment inflicted upon two such arrant traitors and scoundrels. This view of the case is also in keeping with the present conduct both of the Administration and the British Minister. Nothing from Washington indicates a question impending, involving the peace of the two nations. Both the Government and Lord Lyons seem to take matters very leisurely and coolly - in a manner entirely incompatible with the idea that any real difficulty exists between them. We are assured even that Lord Lyons has sent no formal communication to our Government upon the subject. Consequently, no special messenger, bearing important despatches in the case, could have returned in the steamer. We may rest assured that the matter is either fully composed, or is far advanced in this direction. Mr. Chase's declarations to the Bank officers in this city were emphatic that there would be no war. In fine, we think that a day or two more will prick the bubble which has thrown our people into such a state of anxiety and alarm."

Even the rabid Herald, under the heading "Important from Washington - Mason and Slidell to be Given Up if. Demanded," -writes as follows:-
"According to our latest advices from Washington, all apprehensions of a rupture with England upon the late affair of the Trent may he dismissed. Our Cabinet, we are informed, looking to the absorbing and paramount issue-the suppression of this Southern rebellion - will yield to the present demands of England as the conditions of her neutrality, even if these demands involve the restoration of Mason and Slidell to the protection of the British flag, and a disavowal of and an apology for their seizure by Captain Wilkes. In adopting this alternative of submission to these peremptory demands, the Administration runs the hazard of disappointing the popular sentiment of our loyal States. But a little reflection will satisfy every intelligent mind of the wisdom of deferring a final settlement with England until we shall have made an end of this Southern rebellion. There have been some conjectures that arbitration may be resorted to; but it is better gracefully to yield to the exigencies of the crisis, and promptly relieve England of her convenient pretext for a quarrel, without the intervention of any third party. Let our Government, then, meet the requisitions of Lord Lyons, in the restitution of Mason and Slidell to British protection, and in an acknowledgment that while Captain Wilkes would have been right in seizing the Trent steamer and in bringing her before a Prize Court for adjudication, he was wrong in limiting his proceeding to the seizure of his prisoners; and that we regret that his controlling considerations of international courtesy and leniency should have resulted in the very offence which it was his particular object to avoid. An explanation of this character, we presume, will be considered amply satisfactory; as an atonement to the insulted flag of England. It may be painful and humiliating to us. But who will reproach the surprised traveller for yielding to the demand of 'Your money or your life,' with the highwayman's pistol at his head? Our Government will be amply justified in this reparation by the public opinion of our loyal States, considering the rejoicings of our rebellious States at the prospect of securing the aid of England's fleets and armies in the enterprise of the occupation of Washington. We are called upon now to exhibit the virtues of patience and moderation towards a domineering foreign Power, and to submit to its arrogant demands and pretensions, in order to grapple the more effectively with an insolent domestic enemy beleaguering our national capital. But as Rome remembered Carthago from the invasion of Hannibal, and as Prance remembers St. Helena, so will the people of the United States remember and treasure up for the future this little affair of the Trent. Nor do we suppose that the pacific solution of this difficulty, upon the basis of England's offensive ultimatum, will be without equivalent or compensation. We expect that it will secure a more decent regard hereafter for England's professions of neutrality than she has heretofore exhibited; that such scandalous neutral hospitalities as those lately extended to the piratical steamer Nashville at Southampton will not be repeated; and that such commercial ventures as that of the steamer Bermuda to Savannah will cease to be made by British subjects from English ports, under the connivance of Her Majesty's Government. Granted that these demands of England in this matter of Mason and Slidell were framed for war and not for peace, we have the right to call for a faithful adherence to this peace, which has been conceded where war was expected and designed. But we are asked why these humiliating concessions upon a quibble and a pretext? If England's purpose is war, will she not find some other pretext upon which there can be no concession? We answer, that by yielding to the arrogant demands of England upon this pretext of to-day we shall have reduced her to bonds of peace from which, she cannot escape except as a reckless filibuster, liable to be outlawed by every European Power. Meantime, with the re-establishment of our peaceable relations with England, we shall be at liberty to bring our whole military power to bear by land and sea upon this domestic rebellion. We hope, too, that, admonished by the restless impatience of England and France for cotton, President Lincoln and his Cabinet will vigorously push forward the movements of our fleets and armies, and put an end to all European notions of an inevitable Southern Confederacy by the speedy overthrow of the spurious revolutionary league of Davis and his confederates. Then, with this rebellion suppressed, with our revolted States restored, with an army of 1,000,000 men in the field, with a powerful navy, including a good proportion of iron-plated ships, and with our seacoast and frontier defences upon a war footing, we shall have the power to settle, not only our outstanding accounts against England, but the power to prescribe the extent and the limitations of European authority on this continent."
Sa 4 January 1862

[A portion of the following appeared in our Second Edition of yesterday]
Reuter's telegrams.
(Per the Anglo-Saxon via Portland and Londonderry)

NEW YORK, Dec. 21, Afternoon.

It is reported that Lord Lyons has had several informal interviews with Mr. Seward, but that no official communication on the subject of the Trent affair has yet passed between them.
It is rumoured that Mr. Seward sent a communication to the British Government previous to the receipt of the Europa's advices.
The belief in a pacific solution is universal.
The New York Herald and Times state that Messrs. Mason and Slidell will be surrendered.
The World, however, says they will not.
Sa 4 January 1862The subjoined detail of officers, non-commissioned officers, and gunners of the Royal Artillery assembled last night on parade at Woolwich, and left at 7 o'clock per special train for Liverpool to embark in the Cunard steamship Arabia for North America. The force comprised three brigades of garrison artillery, consisting of Col. Graydon, Major Hope, Capt. C.E. Sterling, Capt. F.N. Cromartie, Lieuts. R.J. Millet, H.W. Rooke, W.J. Scott, F.W. Carey, and W.R. Molesworth, 14 sergeants and 220 rank and file, and Major Child, Capt. Brown, Lieut. Gillies, and Lieut. Brother, 7 sergeants, and 110 gunners, intended for duty in Halifax garrison. They were escorted to the wharf by the regimental band, the music, ordered to cease playing after the death of his Royal Highness the Prince Consort, having been permitted to perform as usual. The passage of the troops through the town was hailed, as on the former occasions, by the cheers and acclamations of the people, and the conduct of the troops was remarkably good. The statement contained in some of the morning, and copied into the evening papers of Thursday, of the departure of Royal Artillery from Woolwich for America, was incorrect, a detachment having left for Tilbury Fort only.

Contrary to the usual practice at this season of the year, no cessation whatever has taken place in the field-work operations of the Royal and Indian Engineers at Chatham, the whole of the officers and men who can be spared from their other duties being daily employed on the Royal Engineers' practising ground in the various operations connected with the formation of earthworks and the construction of saps, parallels, galleries, and batteries, in order that the men may be fully competent to take the field whenever despatched from England for foreign service. By the end of next week 200 men will have completed their different courses of instruction, and be in readiness for embarcation for wherever their services may be required.
Ma 6 January 1862Democracy has certainly one virtue. It produces such a candour of political confession as would be sought for in vain under any other form of government. Most people have their tricks, but Republicans alone seem to print them. The Americans tell us with the utmost frankness, not only what they mean to do, but why they do it, and what they would do if they had a better chance, and what they are resolved to do on the next opportunity. They paint themselves as no other people would quite like to paint them, for in this world, though we may naturally suspect bad motives, it is customary to give credit for good ones where the act will sustain the presumption. But the Americans dissect and display themselves for the edification of Europe, without caring to put the least gloze upon their designs, or to affect any semblance of political morality. True, Mr. Seward claimed for his Government that it alone was actuated by "sentiments of the highest virtue," while nothing better than interest lay at the bottom of any European policy, but Mr. Seward's countrymen coolly discard, if we may trust their journals, any such lofty pretensions. They tell us their views and their calculations exactly as they tell us the strength of their fleet and the position of their finances. There is not the slightest reserve about either the public departments or public opinion. Nowhere but in the memoirs of Mr. Barry Lyndon could such an absolute, unconscious, and self-incriminating candour be discovered as the American journals exhibit in every column of their impressions.

When the affair of the Trent first became known in America, and the original jubilation over the exploit was followed by certain awkward misgivings, the American Press encouraged the people by elaborately arguing that England could not possibly go to war, and must therefore swallow this, like all other affronts, as best she might. The Federal States might do just what they pleased, for the Britishers would be starved without American corn, and ruined without American custom. We were so tied and bound, by those links which are said to secure peace that we were fit objects for insults calculated to produce war. We might be right, perhaps, in protesting, but that was nothing to the purpose, and, at any rate, we had often been wrong in years past. That view of the case was maintained for a time, until the news arrived that for once we were likely to demand justice, and enforce our demands. Then followed another line of argument, equally explicit and unreserved. It was held that the question must, of course, be referred to diplomatic negotiation - not with the slightest idea of getting at the truth or settling the point of law, but for the plain, acknowledged purpose, of shelving or mystifying it altogether. There was not the least disguise about the proceeding. The Americans had got possession of certain persons wrongfully taken from under the protection of the British flag. We are not begging the question by the term "wrongfully," for that there was a wrong was not, at this stage of the affair, denied even in America. The New York journals admitted that reparation could be required in some form or other, and they even volunteered offers of "honourable apology"; but instead of honest restitution they proposed "reference" and discussion - not as the means of arriving at a decision, but with the avowed object of rendering a decision impracticable till the time had passed away for any definite or significant settlement at all. They meant to put the affair into diplomatic Chancery, and said what they meant. Protract the controversy for a sufficient time, and we should shake hands from sheer weariness or unconcern. "We presume," said one journal, " that Lord Lyons "will present his case in one of those diplomatic notes of several newspaper columns in extent, and that an appropriate reply will demand an extension of the argument, and so on, until the issue of war involved shall have melted away into an amicable arrangement." For some days that was the tone of the Press. "Don't be afraid. We have done what we ought not to have done, very likely; but we can put the matter into court, and before it comes out again we shall be all safe enough. It is only a diplomatic affair - not a case of war."

A few days later, however, and the aspect of the matter was changed once more. It was understood that our demands had taken such a form as would preclude the arrangement in contemplation. What was to be done, then, if England demurred to the proposal of interminable negotiation, and required prompt and substantial redress? If the issue could not be "melted," how was it to be met? Well, the first inquiry was whether the alternative of war might not possibly be eligible, - not in defence of a nation's just privileges or in protection of a sacred right, but as a matter of present interest and convenience in the existing predicament of the Federal States. "It is argued in high quarters that the United States would be benefited by a war with England, on the ground that we should be immediately relieved of the present enormous expense of keeping up the blockade, and could turn our guns on the splendid commerce of Great Britain; that our people are just in a fighting mood; that in a few months we shall have one of the most magnificent and well-drilled armies the world ever saw, with nothing else to do except to whip John Bull for the third time. This kind of reasoning is not very popular among the officers of Government, but is really a sentiment emanating from a source entitled to consideration." It seems, however, that either further reflection or the "officers of Government" carried the day, and that war with England was not thought a promising policy. Accordingly, the latest phase of opinion points to definite concession, but with such a very frank avowal of the motives at work, and the resolutions privately entertained, that the decision is left with very little grace attending it. A tone of noble indignation opens the argument. That very journal which had in the plainest language recommended "negotiation" as an infallible expedient for evading redress altogether is scandalized beyond measure, a day or two later, at the news that this expedient will be found unavailable, and that we decline to be tricked. There is no longer any help for it. "It may be painful and humiliating to us. But who will reproach the surprised traveller for yielding to the demand of 'Your money or your life,' with the highwayman's pistol at his head?" Considering that in this case the "money" belonged to the "highwayman" himself, and that the "surprised traveller" had just been devising all manner of schemes for keeping the rightful owner out of his property, the innocence and naïveté of the view adopted are perfectly marvellous. In fact, we don't believe the case comes from an American hand. It is Barry Lyndon all over. There is no mistaking the touch.

But what if the captured Envoys are surrendered? Why, then, we are told the Americans will owe us a grudge for evermore. First, they will by this concession be binding us over to keep the peace, and it is declared that we, after quietly receiving what had been unlawfully taken from us, to the universal scandal of Christendom, would thus be reduced to bonds of peace which, we could not break "except as a reckless Filibuster liable to be outlawed by every European Power." That this pretty description applies not so closely to us as to a country which had attacked a neutral flag and had ventured on a capture condemned on the instant by the great Governments of the Continent, seems never to have occurred to the complainant's mind. We are threatened, therefore, with revenge and punishment. We may regain our own, but the recovery will never be forgotten. What the battle of Cannae was to Rome, what St. Helena was to France, the affair of the Trent will be to America, or, in other words, we shall be visited with mortal and undying hatred - not because we have committed any wrong, but because a wrong so grievous as to call forth the unsolicited protests of all Europe was committed upon us. That logic, again, is not the logic of America, we may be sure. An able French writer has just remarked that America is at this time in one of those revolutionary fits when a single accident may change the whole course of ideas and opinions. We sincerely trust that, as the next change, the Americans may discover what we have done to be only what no State could with safety have left undone, and that we did it in the best way both for ourselves and them. They will consider, we hope, that an act against which France, Austria, Prussia, and Belgium thought it necessary to protest, even by anticipation, could not possibly be tolerated by the chief maritime Power of the world. If our demands came at an awkward time for them, that was not our fault. It was they who created the question, not we. However, if they will make an end of it now, we shall not raise it again, or owe them any grudge about it; and we trust that when the sound sense of the real American people is brought to bear upon this matter they will be as ready as ourselves to let bygones be bygones.
Tu 7 January 1862


Much astonishment was occasioned some years ago by the intelligence that the civil war which, had broken out between two parties in Switzerland was opened by a naval engagement, and it is possible that many people may now be surprised to learn that in the event of an American war the safety of Canada is likely in the first instance to be threatened by water, and not by land. Such, however, in some sense, is really the fact, and a glance at any ordinary map of Northern America will show from what geographical conditions the anomaly arises. The richest and most populous territories of Canada lie on the banks of a mighty river and the shores of vast inland Lakes. All the North bank of the St. Lawrence and all the Northern shores of the Lakes with which it is connected belong to Canada, while the Southern shores of the Lakes and a small portion of the South bank of the river belong to the Federal States of America. It was found in the campaign of 1813 that these Lakes became the scene of the most decisive conflicts, and two victories which were successively gained by the American flotillas led, not indeed to the meditated conquest of Canada, but to the temporary ascendancy of our enemies in these internal waters. The actual event of the war was in our favour, for the invaders, though superior in number and resources, were repulsed from the Canadian territory, but the successes of the combatants were for some time pretty evenly balanced, and it was not until we had acquired a superiority on Lake Ontario that the Americans relinquished their hopes of Canadian conquest. At the conclusion of the war both belligerents were busily engaged in building ships for future battles, so that great naval arsenals were actually established in the middle of a continent, and at a great distance from the sea. The Treaty of Peace, however, terminated this rivalry, and a principle which has vainly been recommended in European negotiations was practically recognized in the case before us. The two rival Powers on the two shores of the Lakes, instead of running a race against each other, decided that there should be no race at all. Instead of building ship against ship and frigate against frigate, they agreed to build, in time of peace, no vessels of war whatever, and at this moment there lies in one of the American harbours an 84-gun ship, which, after being commenced in 1814, was left in virtue of these stipulations to remain unfinished up to the present day.

In the event, however, of a renewal of such hostilities as were terminated by the Treaty of Ghent, there would be a renewal, of course, of operations on these Inland Seas, for the command of the water which separates Upper Canada from the Federal territories would be equivalent to a command of the field. It becomes a question, therefore, of great interest to ascertain how this superiority is likely to be determined, and we publish this morning a detailed statement of the various conditions by which the result will be governed. It will be seen that the matter divides itself into two periods, of which the first would be the most critical for England. Up to the month of April next the Lakes may be regarded as inaccessible from the sea, and, therefore, whatever force is created there must be created on the spot. The Americans could build and launch their gunboats and their rafts, and so could we. Not much could be done, probably, on either side, as all the vessels must be extemporized from materials actually at hand. On both shores there are railways leading up to the water's edge, but the Americans have the advantage in population and resources at the critical points, and Sackett's Harbour, their arsenal on Lake Ontario, is an establishment for which we have no match. Still, timber is plentiful; guns, munitions, and steam machinery could be transported by railway; and so widely has the country been civilized since the last war that some of the most important towns of the Federal States, such as Milwaukie and Chicago, have risen on the shores of these once remote waters, and are consequently exposed to the attacks of our squadrons. The risks, therefore, are divided, and the opportunities of inflicting mischief are divided also. It may, perhaps, be admitted that for the next three months the Americans, being more numerous and powerful than the Canadians, might succeed in placing on these Inland Seas a larger flotilla than could be launched in the same time by the colonists, but it must be remembered that this flotilla must in any case be rudely extemporized, and that earthworks, judiciously constructed and well armed, would suffice for the effectual protection of the menaced points against such feeble assailants.

As soon, however, as the St. Lawrence is opened again there will be an end of our difficulty. We can then pour into the Lakes such a fleet of gunboats and other craft as will give us the complete and immediate command of these waters. Directly the navigation is clear, we can send up vessel after vessel without any restrictions, except such as are imposed by the size of the canals. The Americans would have no such resource. They would have no access to the Lakes from the sea, and it is impossible that they could construct vessels of any considerable power in the interval that would elapse before the ice broke up. With the opening of Spring the Lakes would be ours, and if the mastery of these waters is indeed the mastery of all, we may expect the result with perfect satisfaction. On the whole, therefore, the conclusion seems clear that three months hence the field will be all our own, and that in the meantime the Americans, if judiciously encountered, would not be able to do us much harm.

There is, however, another point of great importance. We have observed that Upper Canada lies upon Lakes, and Lower Canada upon a mighty river. On the banks of this river the population gathers like the population of Egypt on the banks of the Nile. The two great cities of the colony, Quebec and Montreal, are on the St. Lawrence, and the latter is but 40 miles from the American frontier. At this point the Americans, relying upon the number of their troops, and allured by the grandeur of the prize, might possibly make a dash, and success in such an enterprise would not only give them the possession of an opulent city and the renown of so brilliant a capture, but would also establish them in a position threatening the communication between the Upper and Lower Provinces of the colony. Of course, a risk so obvious has not been overlooked; but the Canadian Militia is yet but imperfectly organized, and the Royal troops in the colony are a mere handful of men compared with the swarms which the Federal Government might raise for such a purpose. Yet this peril, too, is decreasing rapidly, and will soon be past. A little army of reinforcements, complete in all its departments, has been despatched across the Atlantic, and it will be seen by the extracts from Canadian journals which we published yesterday that the communication between Halifax and Quebec are far easier than they were supposed to be. A Quebec paper tells us that, though there is indeed no railway open throughout between the two points, there is very good travelling from one to the other. The road is described as a "good broad road," and better in the winter than summer. It traverses a thinly-peopled country, no doubt, but there are "settlements all along it," and "half-a-dozen regiments could come from Halifax either on foot or in sleighs with greater ease and in much less time than one regiment accomplished the task in the beginning of the century." If this is so, we need be under no great apprehension about the security of Canada. Already the transports must have reached Halifax and commenced the disembarcation of their freights, and a stream of troops and munitions will have set in which can be continued or increased at our discretion. When we consider, too, that Canada is the only point at which the enemy could hope, even for a moment, to give us any alarm, we shall see very clearly how little we have to dread from that war which the Americans have persuaded themselves we should never dare to face. If they force us into it, it will be soon found which side has most to lose, and we may rely with as much confidence on the security of our possessions as on the strength and justice of our cause.
Tu 7 January 1862


If praise is due to the War Department for their rapid and energetic action in sending out military stores and reinforcements for Canada, the same tribute can unquestionably be claimed by the Admiralty for the rapidity which they have shown in preparing for the impending struggle, strengthening our fleet on the North American station, and bringing forward the vessels that will be fit for service on the Lakes of Canada. It is just five weeks since we laid before our readers a list of the naval force under the command of Admiral Milne on the North American and West India stations. That list comprised five line-of-battle ships, 10 first-class frigates, and 17 powerfully armed corvettes and sloops - all steamers, and mounting in all 850 guns. This fleet is, in fact, equal to the whole Federal navy, whether steam or sailing. As we have said, only five weeks have elapsed since that list was given, and already the preparations are far advanced towards reinforcing this fleet with 2 line-of-battle ships, 23 of the largest, fastest, and heaviest armed screw frigates, and 8 powerful corvettes, mounting among them 1,000 guns. Some of these vessels have sailed and are already on the station, others are on their way out, others only await their sailing orders to start at a moment's notice, some are in commission and will be ready and off in a very short time, and only one or two, such as the Black Prince, though rapidly fitting, are not sufficiently forward to be commissioned yet. Of the squadron of frigates, each vessel has been carefully chosen for its great sailing speed, high steam power, and heavy armament, and never yet has such a fleet of picked cruisers been sent against any enemy. Among them are the Shannon, 51 guns; Leander, 51; Euryalus, 51; Sutlej, 51; Orlando, 51; Severn, 51; Phoebe, 51; Warrior, 40; Black Prince, 40; Galatea, 28 (sister to the formidable Ariadne); Defiance, 22; Defence (iron), 22; Resistance (iron), 22; Satellite, 21; Orpheus, 21; Barrosa, 21; Pylades, 21; Rattlesnake, 21; Chanticleer, 17; Greyhound, 17; Zebra, 17; and Magicienne, 16. The two line-of-battle ships are the Hero, 91, and Meeanee, 81. The sloops, very heavily armed, are the Styx, 7; Stromboli, 7; Devastation, 7; Petrel, 11; Rapid, 11; Rosario, 11; Pandora, 5; and Vigilant, 4. All these ships, like those already on the station, are screws or paddles, so that by the beginning of February Admiral Milne will have at his disposal 65 sail - namely, seven line-of-battle ships, 33 frigates, and 25 corvettes and sloops. Of the seven line-of-battle ships, four - the St. George, Conqueror, Donegal, and Hero - both steam and sail as fast as the best frigates in the service. With such a force a total and most effective blockade of all the Federal ports could be established in a single week; for, unlike the coast line of the Confederate States, which is protected by myriads of little islands and countless inlets and channels leading to the great rivers beyond, all the great Federal harbours have such narrow entrances that a single vessel would be sufficient to stop all passage in or out. With the Warrior at Sandy Hook, what could enter New York, or rather what effectual resistance could Fort Hamilton and the batteries on Staten Island offer to a combined attack of the four iron frigates, in case the Government wished to force the passage, and dictate their own terms of peace by laying the fleet broadside on to the streets of New York and Hoboken? That the Warrior and Black Prince, Resistance and Defence, could engage and destroy these batteries without the smallest risk to themselves, the experiments against the Warrior target have proved conclusively. A single vessel at each port closes Boston and Portland, and two off Cape May would be ample for the Delaware River and the trade of Philadelphia. Admiral Milne, we believe, has already made very complete arrangements as to the disposition of his squadron, so that in the event of war the Federal cruisers off the Southern Coast may be promptly and satisfactorily accounted for.

The worst part of the struggle, however, will not be on the North Atlantic seaboard, but on the great Lakes of Upper Canada and North America. It was said truly in the last war that whoever was master of these Lakes would be master of all. The knowledge of this may have led to the clause in the treaty of 1815 by which both Powers agreed to build no war vessels on the Lakes in time of peace, and this clause again accounts for the fact that the New Orleans, 84 guns, commenced in 1814 in Sackett's harbour, on Lake Ontario, has remained unfinished to this day. Of course, from this vessel, left unfinished nearly 50 years ago (though it is to this hour reckoned in the Federal Navy List as an effective line-of-battle ship), we have nothing to fear. It is, however, most important to remember that the Federals have a navy-yard on Lake Ontario, and that, to avert the ravages of war from Upper Canada, we must be careful to maintain as absolute a supremacy on Lakes Erie and Ontario as we shall do on the American coast from the Bay of Fundy to the Chesapeake. This, as concerns our success in the struggle, is a point of vital interest, and we are glad, therefore, to be able to tell our readers that this danger has been foreseen and amply provided against, and that within a week after the breaking up of the ice in the rivers and canals a whole fleet of gunboats, with the most powerful of the screw corvettes sent out to Admiral Milne, will carry the protection of the English flag from Montreal to Detroit.

Between Lake Ontario and Montreal the navigation of the St. Lawrence is rendered difficult and somewhat dangerous to vessels coming down the stream by the rapids of Long Sault, the Cedars, Cascades, and Lachine, places where there are sudden rapids formed by a series of declivities in the bed of the river, and where the waters rush down, sometimes for a distance of one or two miles, with a velocity of from 20 to nearly 25 miles an hour. Until within the last few years these rapids were considered too dangerous for any vessel to attempt to descend them, and, of course, getting up them again is impossible. To overcome the obstacles which these currents offered to water communication by the great highway of the St. Lawrence to the Lakes above, the Canadian Government, with British assistance, have formed a series of canals with innumerable lock-gates above Montreal, by which the rapids are avoided, and easy communication obtained with Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Michigan. The first canal is about two miles long, through the southern extremity of the island of Montreal, and this avoids the rapids of Lachine. The next, in order to avoid the Cascades and Cedars Rapids, is much longer, and, unfortunately, it is made on the right or American bank of the river, and only some 12 or 15 miles distance from the frontier itself. This extends from Beauharnais to Hungry Bay, and is called tho Beauharnais Canal. The next, the Cornwall Canal, extends from Cornwall to Dickenson's Landing, to avoid the Long Sault. Beyond this are short detached canals at Farrand's Point, the Platte, Iroquois, and Galops Rapids. After these the navigation is clear through the Thousand Islands into Lake Ontario. The tall, wide, three-storied river steamers which ply between Ontario and Montreal go up these canals every day, and up these canals, too, the gunboats, sloops, and corvettes must pass to protect the shores and trade of Western Canada. They may do so with ease, since all the locks in these canals are built to pass vessels 186 feet long, 44½ feet beam, and 9 feet draught. On this important point we can speak with certainty, as we have an official engineer's plan, with the dimensions of the locks and canals, before us. All our smaller 21-gun frigates, such as the Pylades, Rattlesnake, Barrosa, Satellite, &c., could, we think, with perfect ease pass up these locks if lightened of their heavy stores and armaments, which could, of course, be taken up with them on timber rafts or flat-bottomed country boats. Once on the waters of Lake Ontario all our difficulties would be at an end, for at the western extremity of Lake Ontario is the Welland Canal, connecting Port Dalhousie, on Lake Ontario, with Port Colborne, on Lako Erie. The length of this canal is about 35 miles, and it passes entirely through British territory. The lock gates on this are capable of passing vessels of 142 feet long, 26 feet beam, and 10 feet draught - an ample accommodation for the heavy armed six-gun screw despatch gunboat vessels like the Flying Fish, or even for the heavy armed 11-gun sloops of the class to which the Rapid, Petrel, and Rosario belong. From Lake Erie the River St. Clair leads direct, between Detroit, on the American side, and Chatham, on the Canadian side, into Lake Michigan. Across Lake St. Clair and down the St. Clair River two-thirds of the corn and provision traffic between the States of the Far West and the Atlantic seaboard is carried on, and one or two corvettes on Lake St. Clair would be sufficient to stop it all. The Grand Trunk Railway has a line to the settlement of Sarnia, on Lake Huron, around the shores of which grows any quantity of the finest timber. If shipwrights were employed to build a few gunboats at this place (their machinery and armaments could be forwarded by rail), they could steam at once, by a passage as wide as the Straits of Dover, into Lake Michigan, and find not only the enormous traffic of this great lake, but even such towns as Chichago and Milwaukie, entirely at their mercy. It may be said, perhaps, that in case of war it is equally open to the Federalists to do all this as to ourselves, but this is not so. Undoubtedly if we built gunboats on Lake Huron, the Federals could build others to check them on Lakes Michigan and Superior quite as fast. But it is equally certain that they cannot possibly build steam frigates and corvettes on Lakes Erie and Ontario as fast as we can send them up through the canals we have mentioned ready built, manned, and equipped. There is, moreover, only one practicable means of communication between Ontario and Erie, which is through the Welland Canal we have spoken of, held by the British. As soon as the ice breaks, therefore, if the war goes on, we may expect to find these lakes covered with cruisers, and each Federal port on them as closely blockaded as Boston and New York.

It must not be supposed, however, that the Federals will quietly acquiesce in our supremacy. In the time that would intervene between a declaration of war and the thawing of the canals on the St. Lawrence, the Federals would be masters of the situation, and would be certain to fit out something like the mosquito fleet that swarmed over the West India station when the "sensation" as to the slaver right of search ran high. Such vessels, however ridiculous when opposed to steam frigates, would be very formidable when there was nothing to resist them, and we cannot meet them in the Lakes before next April. Kingston, with its Fort Henry and some still more formidable batteries, à leur d'eau, can take care of itself, and a couple of guns on the long spit of land which shuts in the splendid harbour of Hamilton would well shield that fine town. But Whitby, Cobourg, Belville, even Toronto itself, might be laid in ashes by a couple of ferry boats carrying long range guns, if immediate steps are not taken to defend them with earthworks when it is first seen that war is inevitable. However, as the Canadian Government have direct telegraphic communication with Lord Lyons at Washington, we may trust they are not likely to be taken by surprise on this point. But there are other means of carrying the war into the enemy's territory besides by the Welland and St. Lawrence Canals. Lake Ontario can be reached from Montreal by the Ottawa and Rideau Canal. This is the longest in Canada or America, about 120 miles in length, running from Ottawa to Kingston. The locks on this accommodate vessels of 100 feet long, 19 feet beam, and 5½ feet draught, so that by this route our gunboats might gain Ontario and Erie, while the corvettes and short frigates came up by the St. Lawrence. At Sorel, also, about 20 miles below Montreal, is a river which leads through the St. Ours Lock and through the Chambly Canal, direct on to the head of Lako Champlain. The locks on this canal admit ships of 113 feet length, 22½ feet beam, and 6½ feet draught, so that by this route also any number of gunboats might be sent into Lake Champlain, on the waters of which there is not a single vessel larger than a steam ferry, and on the shores of which are large, rich, and utterly unprotected towns, such as Burlington, Newhaven, &c. All these canals are British property, on British soil, and held by the Canadian. Government as the keys which give access to our ships to the most distant provinces of the West. In our previous notice of the military reinforcements for Canada we omitted, in speaking of the high efficiency of the military train, to mention the name of Colonel Mac Murdo, to whom, as having been intrusted with its organization from the commencement until very recently, so much praise is most justly due.
Tu 7 January 1862Embarcation of Troops for British America. - The Royal mail steamship Arabia sailed from Liverpool, on Saturday, for New York, diverging en voyage to Halifax to land troops. Besides the usual mails, she took out 70 cabin 'passengers, including 20 military officers. Among these latter were Colonel G. Gordon; Major J.G. Hope; Captains F. Cromarty and C.E. Staling; Lieutenants W.T. Scott, T. Millet, J.W. Carey, F.W. Rooke, and W.R. Molesworth. These officers took out under their command 14 non-commissioned officers and 220 men of the 2d and 3d brigades of garrison Royal Artillery. The other officers were - Major J.C. Childs ; Captain J.T. Brown; Lieutenants D. Nollan, J. Galloway, C.M. Bathen, and Assistant-Surgeon Forshall, who took out under their command seven sergeants and 116 gunners belonging to the 7th battery of the 10th brigade of Royal Artillery. Also Lieut. Davies, of the 1st battalion of the 16th Regiment of Foot. These troops, which are intended for Halifax and Bermuda, constitute the concluding contingent of 10,000 which were ordered to support our military arrangements in British America. No further instructions for the embarcation of troops have as yet been received in Liverpool. The troops despatched on Saturday completed a contingent of 204 officers and 4,984 men which have been despatched in Liverpool steamers since the 13th of December last, - a fact which speaks highly for the capabilities of the steam fleet belonging to the port. It also reflects much credit on the sagacity, industry, and judgment of Colonel Greathead, Deputy-Quartermaster-General for the district, and Commander Leycester, R.N., Admiralty agent for Liverpool, under whose direction they were, to state that the embarcation was in every case most expeditious, orderly, and satisfactory. It is not less satisfactory to know, as we do, by private advices from Montreal and Quebec, dated the 20th ult., that, although there was a large quantity of ice in the river, the weather continued beautifully fine; and that, so far as could be judged, there was nothing to prevent the steamships Australasian and Persia from getting to Quebec. As an illustration of the extreme anxiety which is attached to the present state of our relations with America, it should be mentioned that the most extraordinary reports are received with ready belief, and circulated with incredible alacrity. On Saturday two very conflicting rumours were current on 'Change. The first was a statement that a telegram had been received in Liverpool countermanding the embarcation of the troops; unfortunately for its chance of credence, this rumour was not afloat till after the Arabia had sailed with the troops on board. The other was to the effect that a telegram had been received from the Horse Guards, ordering the steamer Africa to be got ready for sea on four hours' notice. This latter, like its predecessor, proved entirely an imagination. - Liverpool Albion.
Tu 7 January 1862

Reuters telegrams.


The Royal mail steamer Europa, from Boston on the 25th and Halifax on the 27th ult., arrived here at 8 30 p.m., with. 70 passengers and 21,420l. in specie for England.
The Europa landed 93 sacks of mails, and proceeded for Liverpool at 8 45 p.m. All well.
She brings nothing definite respecting the Commissioners.
She experienced strong easterly winds with heavy head sea on the passage home.

NEW YORK, Dec. 24, Evening.

(Per Europa, via Boston and Queenstown.)

A motion has been made in the Senate for the production of the correspondence respecting the Trent affair.
Several members spoke against the surrender of the prisoners.
The New York papers agree that to avoid war the demands of England would be acceded to.
The Senate has passed a Bill devoting $1,500,000 for the construction of gunboats on the Western waters.
It is reported that the Government has decided to erect a naval depot and navy yard on Lake Michigan.
Mr. Seward has written a letter excusing himself from being present at the New England anniversary dinner. In this letter Mr. Seward says that any benefit that accrues to America increases the prosperity of Great Britain, and that every disaster befalling America is sooner or later pregnant with suffering to Great Britain.
It is generally reported that General Scott returns to New York with an offer of mediation from the Emperor of the French to settle the affair of the Trent.
The news of the Prince Consort's death has caused a feeling of sadness to prevail throughout the British community in New York.
Both Houses of Congress have passed a Bill making the duty on tea 20c, on coffee 5c, and on sugar from 2½c. to 8c„ according to quality; molasses, 8c. per gallon.
The New York Bank statement shows a decrease of specie of two and a-half millions, and a decrease of deposits of four and a-half millions.
The Persia and the Australasian were intercepted off Cape Race on the 23d of December.

(Latest by Telegram to Halifax.)

NEW YORK, Dec. 26, Evening.

To-day in the Senate Mr. Hale [John Parker Hale, 1806-1873, he was a leading member of the Free Soil Party and unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1852] demanded the correspondence with England on the Trent question.
Mr. Sumner [Charles Sumner, 1811-1874, the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in Senate] objected to this demand.
Mr. Hale stated that he had heard the Cabinet were considering the proposition to surrender Messrs. Mason and Slidell. He said, also, that if England had demanded the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, the Federal Government should declare war against England. If they were surrendered, the Senate, said Mr. Hale, would be subject to the scorn and indignation of the country, and the Administration would be hurled from power. Mr. Hale believed that Napoleon would desire to wipe out the stain of Waterloo, and that thousands of Irishmen in Canada would join the Federal cause. Mr. Hale concluded a violent speech, against England by urging war sooner than the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell.
Mr. Sumner urged that the consideration of the question should be delayed until it was presented in a practical form. He demanded whether there was proof of arrogant demands on the part of England, or that the Administration had not considered the question of arbitration, and stated his belief that the matter would be honourably and amicably adjusted.
Mr. Hale's motion was tabled for future discussion.
It is generally believed that Lord Lyons has presented his despatches.
Nothing, however, is known respecting the demands which they contain, as the Administration preserved strict secrecy on the Trent question.
The New York press argues that America is not desirous of war with England unless it is forced upon the country by the latter.
The popular feeling is hostile to England, but there is a general impression that the Trent question will be amicably settled.
The Arago has arrived out.
We 8 January 1862


If we have refrained from leading the chorus of jubilation which has sounded throughout the metropolis for some days past, and have confined ourselves to the expression of modest and uncertain hopes, we have been restrained by reasons which unfortunately still have force. The expectations of peace will not rise to certainty. The more carefully we read the American journals, the more certain it appears to us that they are kept for this once without genuine information. The more curiously we sift the current opinions of New York, the more we become impressed with the conviction that upon this occasion New York does not represent all Federal America. We are upon the brink of a crisis in which money interests are not omnipotent, in which passion and ignorance will have their power, and in which policy may lose its influence. We are cautious how we raise the cry of "saved" while so many adverse chances have yet to be run through; and, yielding to others the more enviable office of trumpeting good news, we must abide by our old task of marking the vicissitudes as they rise, and conclude with our old conclusion, that no materials for a confident anticipation are yet to be obtained.

The tidings from Washington, which reach, in telegram, to the day after Christmas-day, fail to bring us the seasonable announcement, "on earth peace, good will towards men". If we could mark by shades the character of the intelligence, we should, we fear, have to shade it rather darker than that which preceded it. Lord Lyons had proceeded on his diplomatic mission with the greatest deliberation and circumspection. First he allowed full time for the collection and consideration of all the general intelligence to be derived from telegrams and newspapers and from the despatches of the American Legations in Europe. When the mind of the Foreign Minister had been fully possessed of the subject Lord Lyons waited upon Mr. Seward, stated to him that he was to be the medium of transmitting to him very important despatches, and explained unofficially, but very fully, their nature and import. Mr. Seward appeared anxious for delay, and Lord Lyons had a second, and we believe even a third, unofficial interview with him. The object of the British Minister, of course, was to afford every opportunity for the American Government to make voluntary restitution and apology for the outrage which had been committed, and to avoid putting them to the humiliation of doing so at the demand of the outraged Power. Mr. Seward was courteous and friendly, but resolutely silent on the subject which occupied the minds of both the parties to these conversations. He would express no opinion, and no more could be obtained by Lord Lyons than that the despatch, when delivered, should receive the careful attention of the Government. On the 23d, the day the mail left Washington, Lord Lyons formally delivered the Note. On the 26th we hear by telegraph that the Cabinet at Washington were still silent.

This is all that is certain. The rest are but the cries and counter-cries of the populace and the Press. New York, where people still have money to lose, is mild and peaceful, with a certain occasional dash of braggart ferocity. The head and neck of the sheep, however, are coming out palpably from the loose skin of the wolf. Washington, on the contrary, is warlike. If the members of the House of Representatives speak the sentiments of the Northern States, Mr. Lincoln will not want abettors in any violence he may be disposed to undertake, and General M'Clellan will not find perfect protection from the pressure now brought to bear upon him from his own side. He is called on by popular acclaim to advance against an enemy who was at no time more strongly posted, never more vigilant in his watch, never more adventurous or enterprising in the small conflicts that occur along the front. He is called on to advance at a moment when rains have saturated the country and destroyed the roads, and when the leader of even a disciplined army might well be excused for some hesitation in attempting to assault a brave and numerous enemy in a strongly intrenched position. But a victory had become politically necessary.

On the other side, the Confederates are rather pressing forwards towards the Potomac than shrinking from the battle which the populace, the Congress, and even the Government of the Federal States demand. The news from Canada, too, would come in to swell the facts upon which the Government of the States must base their decision. The Persia had gallantly steamed up the St. Lawrence with her precious freight to the very terminus of the Grand Trunk Railway, and in a few hours the troops she carried were marching into Quebec. If the Australasian, less boldly handled, had put back to Halifax, the telegraph must have told at Washington that the route by land was accessible, and that more than one detachment of veteran soldiers was advancing by rapid marches to the banks of the St. Lawrence. The Federal Cabinet did not require to be informed how high the excitement had risen all along the frontier, how promptly the Militia were mustering, and how rapidly guns and earthworks were rendering every exposed point impregnable to such levies as they could send against it. To all these facts Mr. Chase must have had something to add. If it be a reasonably near computation that the present war is costing a million and a half of dollars a-day - and, when we recollect our experience of the Crimean War, this tremendous estimate is not impossible -we might suppose that Mr. Lincoln and his colleagues would have had persuasives enough to a simple act of justice.

But what, if so, means Mr. Seward's imperturbable silence? When the latest news left three days had already elapsed from the time of the formal delivery of our demand. Mr. Seward and his colleagues had already received the declaration of the Emperor of the French; they had already had communications from General Scott. They had nothing more to know from this side of the Atlantic but the declarations of Austria and Prussia. Why, then, delay the decision a moment, if the decision was to be favourable to peace? Every incentive would seem to dictate instant action. The immediate surrender of Mason and Slidell would have been a greater blow to the hopes of the Confederates than a victory on the Potomac; the placing these two men on board a Cunard steamer would be worth millions to the Federal Exchequer. If it be so certain, as the New York papers say, that these men are to be delivered up, why is it not done at once? A week before the mail left the New York Times said that Mr. Seward was taking time for the purpose of gathering more information from Europe. That explanation can no longer avail. It may be - let us hope it is so - that he is waiting now only to allow of the expression of public feeling in America, and that he is about to do justice if he dare. Perhaps he may see in the difficulties which are hourly accumulating fresh arguments for peace which may strengthen his hand with his own people. But, on the contrary, it is possible that he and his President may have resolved to do everything except to render us the retribution our honour compels us to demand. Our Correspondent does not paint the temper of the people in colours favourable to peace, and we have heard that others, even as likely as he to be well informed, have gone so far as to speak of the surrender of Slidell and Mason as extremely improbable. Mr. Seward must have seen before the 26th of December that we were so committed to our demand by the approval of all Europe that it is impossible for us to retreat; he must have felt that we were in the same position as if we were called upon to insist on the execution of an award made in our favour by all the countries of Christendom. Even arbitrators must rely upon war as the last remedy, and we are in the position of a Power which has to enforce an award. Why, then, has Mr. Seward delayed his answer, unless in fear of his own countrymen, or in the hope of entangling us in some diplomatic meshes?

We shall soon have our anxieties resolved. Lord Lyons waited for his answer until the 30th. If on that day he received no substantial satisfaction, he then withdrew with his Legation, and the America, which sailed from New York on New Years day, will bring us the tidings by next Monday. A Cabinet Council is summoned for Tuesday. Thus events are thronging to a crisis, and, in calm confidence in our good cause, we await the result. But no man can say that the danger is past.
We 8 January 1862

Reuter's express.
NEW YORK, Dec 24.
(Per Europa, via Queenstown.)

The steamships Edinburgh and Arago, with European news to December 12, were intercepted off Cape Race on December 21, and their news obtained.
The steamships Australasian and Persia, bringing European news to the 15th inst., were intercepted off Cape Race on December 23, and their news, including the intelligence of the death of the Prince Consort, was telegraphed.
The steamship Teutonia arrived at New York on the 22d of December, and the steamship America, after touching at Halifax on the 23d of December, where she left despatches for the British fleet, arrived at New York at 11 o'clock on the morning of the 24th inst., bringing the European mail of the 7th.

Great suspense continued to exist on the Trent question. The Washington correspondents of the New York journals furnished the most conflicting statements on the question at issue, so much so that their accuracy might well be doubted. A very general belief, however, had gained ground that Mr. Seward forwarded a despatch to Mr. Adams in London one week after the seizure, informing the British Government that Captain Wilkes acted -without instructions from the Federal Government; and, as it -was supposed this information might, perhaps, modify the demands made by the British Government, an unfounded impression prevailed that Lord Lyons had delayed the delivery of the despatches brought out by Captain Seymour, Queen's messenger, in the Europa, until he had received further advices from England, dated subsequently to Mr. Seward's despatch to Mr. Adams. These advices, it was hoped, might have been brought by the America, which arrived here on the 24th. The general popular feeling was undoubtedly extremely hostile to England and to the demands of the British Government. There was no doubt, however, that the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell would be accepted by the public as a necessity of the position the Federal Government -was placed in in regard to the rebellion; and the idea that the hands of the Federal Government would thus be left free to restore the Union by force of arms would, for the time, compensate the public for what they considered the humiliation of complying with the demands of England; but the bitter feeling against England would, there is no question, be much increased by their surrender, and the Trent affair would neither be forgotten nor forgiven by Americans.

The following letter from a writer in the Philadelphia Press fully portrays the feeling of many Americans on this subject:-
"WASHINGTON, Wednesday, Dec. 18. "England knows she is strong. This is our hour of weakness and she may make it her opportunity to strike. She can now be arrogant and insulting, for now her arrogance and insult cannot be resented. The northern coast is exposed to her large and powerful navy, our towns are not fortified, and she may bring desolation upon our people and our manufacturing interests. All this she knows. Her armaments are large and well appointed; her army has been increased almost to a war footing; she is prepared to throw large bodies of troops into the eastern and northern portions of our Republic; Canada is filled with armed men, and the frontiers of Canada are simply so many garrisons. Our commerce is at her mercy. In the Mexican Gulf there is a large British fleet which could render our newly gained strongholds on the southern coast untenable, and accomplish the destruction of the brave men at Port Royal, Hatteras, and Santa Rosa Island. She may break our blockade and entirely nullify our expeditionary operations. With the Potomac virtually blockaded, an immense army under Beauregard in our rear, Washington would probably fall. With the Chesapeake Bay open to any navy that may choose to enter, with a disloyal population in Maryland, with enemies along the Virginia and Atlantic coasts, England could precipitate a fearful series of disasters, and perhaps with the aid of the Southern armies turn the bloody tide of war upon the Northern States.
"It may be, in view of all these grave considerations and the sad necessities of the case, that, in order to avoid a war which could only end in our discomfiture, the Administration may be compelled to concede the demands of England, and perhaps release Messrs. Mason and Slidell. God forbid! - but in a crisis like this we must adapt ourselves to stern circumstances, and yield every feeling of pride to maintain our existence. If this contingency should ever arise - and I am only speculating upon a disagreeable possibility - then let us swear, not only to ourselves but our children who come after us, to repay this greedy, insolent, and cowardly Power with the retribution of a just and fearful vengeance. If England in our time of distress makes herself our foe and offers to be our assassin, we will treat her as a foe when we can do so untrammelled and unmenaced by another enemy."

The writer then, suggests several methods "by which to baffle England if she is disposed to take part against the cause of civilized freedom on this continent", one of which is to submit the whole case to the arbitration of Russia or France, or both together, and continues as follows:-
"Should the British Government accept any one of these suggestions or explanations the case can readily be adjusted. Should she refuse there can be but one judgment pronounced. She will forfeit the respect of every civilized Government on earth.
"But whether she accepts or rejects them, this much is written in the book of fate - that if she has attempted to embarrass or to assail the United States in their present mighty trouble she has made eternal foes of all the loyal millions of America and their posterity for ever.
"If we do concede the demands of England, however, it will only be because we desire to crush this rebellion, as a duty we owe to mankind. It will be because we prefer to master the great evil and do not wish to be alienated from our duty by an international and comparatively unimportant quarrel; it will be because we prefer national salvation to the gratification of any feeling of national pride. It will be a great act of self-denial. But when we come from this rebellion it will be with a magnificent army, educated and organized, and with the sense of this wrong weighing upon them. It will be with a navy competent to meet any navy upon the globe. It will be for us then to remember how England was our enemy in the day of our misfortune, and to make that remembrance a dark and fearful page of her history and an eternal memory in our own."

At the annual dinner of the New England Society, held at Astor-house, in New York, Dec. 23, some of the speakers referred to the Mason and Slidell question. The following extracts from the speeches of the Hon. R.J. Walker, and Mr. Evarts, the President of the Society, give some idea of the popular feeling on this question:-
Mr. Walker did not advocate war with England, but if England, forgetting a common language, a common race, and a common history of liberty - if, forgetting all these things and all her alleged principles of 30 years, she shall make herself the ally of that Power which has derided all these, if we do not fight her now, she will have sown the seeds of an everlasting hatred, and the time will come when the flag of the American Union shall float victoriously over every acre of British-American soil. (Loud and long continued cheering.)
"Mr. Evarts, introducing the next regular toast, said that, as President of the Society, he would remark, upon a thought suggested by some words let fall by the hon. gentleman who had last spoken, that he was decidedly of the opinion that if to this envious quarrel thrust upon us by our haughty sisters there was to be added the frown of our jealous mother, we can settle the whole family quarrel now very nicely together. (Great hilarity and, applause.)"

Mr. Seward, who was unable to be present on the occasion, sent the following letter of excuse. This letter is dated December 11, before the receipt of the European advices on the Trent question:-
"To C.A. Stetson, Esq., Astor-house.
"Department of State, Washington, Dec 11,1861. "Dear Sir, - Pray present my apology to the sons of New England for declining their invitation to the New England dinner. My duties here allow me little enjoyment of the holydays.
"If it were an Old England dinner instead of a New England feast, I would certainly strain a point to attend. I would like so good an opportunity to attempt to show to our cousins across the seas that there is no material benefit or moral influence that can accrue to us that will not also increase the prosperity and greatness of Great Britain, and that every disaster that befalls the United States is also pregnant with suffering and sorrow sooner or later to be borne by Great Britain.
"Express my warmest acknowledgments to the committee, and believe me,
"Ever faithfully your friend.

The press generally is certainly hostile to England; the argument generally used is that if there is war with England it will be forced upon the United States by England; that the United States are desirous of peace; at the same time entirely ignoring the various acts of the Federal Government in regard to England since the commencement of the rebellion; more especially the unusual proceedings in the forcible seizure of the Commissioners Mason and Slidell, none of which proceedings tend to strengthen the bonds of peace between the two countries. Many of the journals contain elaborate arguments to prove that Ireland is ripe for revolt, the New York Evening Post going so far as to state that official information had been received in Washington to that effect. They also argue that it would be the interest of France to remain neutral in the quarrel, in order to avail herself of a tariff which would at once be passed in favour of the admission of French goods into the United States for the next 10 or 15 years on such terms as to entirely exclude British goods from the market.

The Washington correspondent of the New York Times writes as follows on the feeling at Washington:-
"If I can judge by what I feel and hear I should utter a wail over the fading prospect of a brush with our great ancestor. Do you know that if there is one great sentiment that Jonathan always nurses, and cherishes, and hugs to himself, and heartily believes in, it is the sentiment of hatred to Bull, and to those habits and customs to which Bull is given? If there is any regret felt at the taking of the rebel Commissioners from the deck of a British steamer, it is the regret that he may have thereby given our sanction to a right which Bull has always claimed to exercise, and which we have as resolutely refused to concede. Say what you will about friendly relations, cousinly love, commercial interests, and business alliances, there is really and sincerely no more good faith between us and them than there was 50 years ago. The old Adam in us is always ready for a fight with the mother country. Be sure of one thing. The country is in no mood to brook arrogance from England. The fear that the people seem to have is that the Government may seek to shun a conflict by some concession or explanation, or else a dalliance of the negotiation that may have the semblance of a wish to maintain existing relations."

The New York Herald indulges in the following characteristic remarks:-
"In the Mexican war we had only 20,000 men employed. At the conclusion of the war the volunteers were disbanded, and they were the source of great trouble to our Government engaging in filibustering expeditions to Cuba, Nicaragua, and other neighbouring States. If the survivors of an army of 20,000 caused the Government so much uneasiness, what would be the consequence if a million of men, filled with military ideas, and many of them fired with ambition and the lust of conquest were to be disbanded and left without employment? The most difficult problem in France is what to do with its armies in time of peace. The soldiers cannot bear the idea of inaction. If they are not engaged with a foreign foe, there is every danger of their embarking in domestic revolution. In order to preserve peace at home the rulers of France find it necessary to war against their neighbours at brief intervals. What, then, is the American Government to do with the immense fighting mass which will be left on its hands when the Southern war is over? It must be immediately employed in vindicating the Monroe doctrine and be directed against European domination on this continent till every vestige of it is swept away. Mexico must be made free to choose her own destiny without European intervention, and Cuba and Canada must be annexed at one blow to the United States. All the West India Islands must be conquered. They properly belong to the American continent, and all European rule on the coast of the Pacific must be terminated by the American republic, 'one and indivisible,' and henceforth a military public like ancient Rome, reducing the neighbouring nations to her sway, but giving them also her freedom and power, at the same time allowing them to retain their own domestic institutions. Thus, she grew in greatness and glory, but the narrow-minded Puritanism which would meddle with the domestic institutions of the Southern States would prevent for ever the expansion of the American Republic and kindle undying hatred in the breasts of the vanquished. There is no statesmanship in this contracted sect. Under other auspices, therefore, will it be necessary to send forth armies conquering and to conquer, till this vast continent is ours. Such is the manifest destiny of the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic races blended together in the United States; and never shall their pure Caucasian blood be deteriorated by adulteration with the negro like the unfortunate republics of Mexico, Central and South-America. England knows that the last shadow of her dominion in the New World must vanish as the mist before the rising sun so soon as we shall have settled our domestic difficulties; hence her design is to prevent a settlement. But by our energy and rapid movements let us baffle her schemes and the game is ours."

The New York Press generally make but little comment upon the death of Prince Albert, beyond giving his obituary. The New York Times, however, has the following remarks:-
"The death of Prince Albert is without political significance. We might indeed speculate upon the possibility of a domestic calamity of this character diverting momentarily the attention of the British public from the war topic, but let us rather follow reverently to the grave this man, who, being a Prince, knew also to be a good citizen, a public benefactor, and an object of popular regard and respect. Thus much, indeed, is eminently due to the father from a people who so recently did honour to the son."
The New York Herald contains the following reflections on the death of his late Royal Highness:-
"The effect of his decease will doubtless be to allay in a measure the irritation of the British people consequent upon the affair of the Trent. The sentiment of loyalty in England is so deep and devoted that it approaches personal reverence and affection, and this sudden visitation of death to the Royal household will for a season occasion general sorrow, in the midst of which animosities languish and anger abates. The English people, now so wildly exasperated at the inhabitants of the Northern States, ought not to need the reminder that, although we do not participate in their grief, we share in their respect for the memory of their Prince deceased. He had many traits which good man honour, and his memory will be honoured here as it deserves, irrespective of any temporary irritation between the motherland and our own."
We 8 January 1862

(from our special correspondent.)


The agitation produced by the news from Europe has been increasing, but the Press has succeeded in assuring the people that there is no peremptory demand for the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell and that there is therefore no immediate fear of war. So far as I can judge, the Government and the people are watching each other with anxiety and without any decided policy. They encourage each other by declarations that they will not consent to the surrender of their dearly-loved captives, but I am certain that at least one member of the Cabinet would very willingly yield them up if he could be satisfied he would escape being devoured by his countrymen. The doctrines laid down in our journals are much canvassed, and it is held that there is no reason whatever in the argument that, though the American captain could not seize the Confederates from the Trent, he could have carried the Trent with her passengers into port for adjudication before an Admiralty Court. It was as a carrier of contraband the Trent was liable, if at all. An Admiralty Court could not condemn Mason and Slidell, although it might condemn the ship that carried them, and the right of taking them would, it is contended, remain just as it was when the San Jacinto sent her boats on board. It is probable we shall have plenty of law on the case if the international lawyers are to deal with it, but there is a national sentiment which is above all precedent, and war is more frequently employed to create than to enforce precedents in reference to principles of action between nations. Mr. Seward is in a very good frame of mind for a fair consideration of the questions at issue. The President has, it is said, in American phrase, "put down his foot" on the question of surrender, and said, in reply to some representations on the impolicy of resisting an appeal founded on justice and on the common opinion of Europe, that he would die sooner than submit to the humiliation of his country; whereupon it was observed that it would be better to lose a President than see the ruin of the Republic. The majority of the Cabinet and the bulk of the Congress share his views, but from the first there has been a warning voice inside and outside which warned the Government that the act over which there was so much rejoicing would excite the utmost indignation and anger in Great Britain, and that it would not be passed over as an admitted right of a belligerent Power to seize political offenders under the shelter of the British flag. In the interval the papers and the lawyers had persuaded the country "it was all right," and the sensitiveness of the Money-market was the only barometer of the secret uneasiness and the depths of disquiet in the inner atmosphere of men's minds. I must send the following extracts from my diary as the best substitute I can now furnish for a letter, as the irregularity of the mails, caused by the detention of the steamer, has deranged my usual correspondence. To begin with the date after my last letter:-

Monday, 16th.

Last night the news came that the Europa had arrived at Halifax, bearing a Queen's messenger with despatches for Lord Lyons, and it was added that the British Government had come to the decision to demand the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, and, further, that Lord Lyons, in case of refusal, was ordered to leave Washington. There were some doubts expressed in reference to the authenticity of these statements, but those who believed them to be true discussed the probable course of the United States Government and the conduct of the British Ministry with warmth and excitement. So far as I can hear, there was no disposition evinced in any quarter to yield to the demand, which, indeed, has been long canvassed as a result likely to follow the act of Captain Wilkes. The members of the Cabinet, the President, the Generals, or at least General MClellan, have all been prepared for the question, and last night they could only repeat the arguments for and against the compliance with or refusal of the proposition to be made by our Government. There is now, however, a feeling of bitter mortification here that, at the moment when victory seemed inclining in their favour, and when the current was setting in against the Confederate States, the statesmen of the North must either receive a tremendous check or submit to the performance of an act which they, right or wrong, consider an extreme humiliation. The anger of the Democracy of America would be directed against their own Ministers, unless the latter could divert it into another channel, or concentrate it upon the English people. It is probable that the reports of the intentions of our Government are exaggerated both as to the mode and substance of the representations and demands attributed to them. The calmer-minded see only one course to pursue, if they would wish to preserve the Union and to conquer the South, and that is to yield up Slidell and Mason, and then to solace themselves by a vow of eternal hostility to Great Britain, and the promise to their hearts of future revenge upon her in some moment of weakness or difficulty. The more violent are quite ready to meet all the world in arms, and they solace themselves too with the thought that Great Britain would be presented to the world as the patron and protector of slavery if she raised the blockade of the Southern ports, and entered into direct relations with the Stave States for the supply of cotton. Nor are they without a hope of actual reunion springing out of a war with England, believing in the hostility of the South to the British rather than in their attachment to the Union. That, however, is admitted as a remoter consequence of war. It was suggested last night, that if Great Britain waived her claim to Slidell and Mason, and magnanimously said to the United States, "We are satisfied we have a right to demand this restoration from you, but we do not wish to bear hardly upon you in the time of your trouble, and to lower you in the eyes of the world," that the whole heart of America would respond to the chord thus struck, and would be moved to eternal gratitude. It may be true that some of her people would accept the proof of consideration thus afforded them with the most lively satisfaction, but there are no grounds whatever for supposing the class would be numerous or powerful, and there is every reason to believe, on the contrary, that the conduct of Great Britain would be attributed to the basest motives - to fear, to hypocrisy, to weakness, to cowardice. Putting out of view the consideration of right and justice to England, to the honour of the flag and the privilege of asylum, we must regard the rights of others, the feelings of other nations, the influence which would be exercised upon our allies by submission. No country can gratify the pride of another nation at the expense of its own position in the face of Europe. Rather must she be content to accept the assurances of the unalterable hatred of the present and future races of the people whose self-love she has been forced to wound in consequence of their own acts. It must be fairly confessed that if in the extreme and deplorable case of a war arising out of this quarrel the fleets of Great Britain were to blockade the Northern and raise the blockade of the Southern ports, she would enter on the contest with imputations on her motives, arising from a supposed necessity for cotton, an imaginary jealousy of the United States for her democratic institutions and prosperity, and, above all, from the circumstances under which she struck her enemy, already contending for life against a most formidable internal foe. I am satisfied many American politicians, when they first heard of the arrest of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, were of the opinion of the Prince de Joinville, that the best thing to do would be at once to restore them to the protection of the British flag with an apology, but that now they feel it would not be possible, consistently with their amour propre to take that course. And the question arises, again, what will Great Britain do in case the United States refuses to yield up her prisoners? Lord Lyons departure from Washington is not necessarily a declaration of war, it is merely a rupture of diplomatic relations. If I may be permitted to avow my personal sentiments I should say that a war with the United States, at all times to be deprecated on account of many aggravations of the usual horrors of war with which it must be accompanied, would, under present circumstances, be exceedingly pitiable and much to be deplored. It may come upon us as a necessity, but it can never be welcome, in spite of the hundred causes of complaint we have against the people and Government of America. All means consistent with our honour ought to be adopted to prevent such a calamity, and every point should be strained to permit our stiff-necked brethren to do us and themselves justice. I am satisfied the violent, scurrilous, and demoralized newspapers which please the worst portion of the lower orders - and there are plenty of them down to the level of the very pit itself in American cities - do not represent the feelings and opinions of the mass of the people or of the better classes. But there is, nevertheless, a sort of morbid feeling with regard to England, which may be based, as they say it is, on caring more for her opinion than for that of all the rest of the world beside, and on feeling a slight from her as a jealous lover feels a rebuff from his mistress, but which is, nevertheless, a dangerous, difficult, and disagreeable element in international relations. If war should unfortunately prove our ultimate reason the irritable passions which have been gaining an ascendancy over the people will break forth with violence, and no means will be untried to punish the mother country, which has already gained so much odium by her refusal to co-operate with the North in her war with the South, and to participate in the domestic quarrel, as well as by her cession of limited belligerent rights to the seceded States.

The season, however, is more suitable for diplomatic than belligerent operations. In a month from this time the coasts of America, from New York to the Capes of Florida, are swept by tempests, which would render the blockading service one of extraordinary difficulty and danger. I may say at once, that one great argument in favour of blocking up the ports of the South by sinking stone ships came from the officers of the navy, who declared it would be impossible to keep a close blockade of the coast between Fortress Monroe and the Capes in the months of January and February. The snow and frosts on the Canadian frontier would for some time to come present a formidable barrier to any demonstration by land on the part of the Americans in case they went to war, but it is their strong point, as they imagine, and they boast that from the Californian side of the continent, our Indian and our Chinese trade are at the mercy of their privateers. There is cause of irritation enough, without adding to it by the production of evidence to show how industriously some newspapers in the States have been labouring to bring about a war by exciting the worst feelings of the people of the United States against Great Britain, and the sentiment against those men who have done so much to destroy their country, and who have alienated from it the sympathy of every Power in Europe, is rapidly rising in the great cities. No respectable person admits these organs have any influence, but among the ignorant masses the constant stream of falsehood must produce an impression at last, and the result is seen in the danger of the whole body politic, which rests on the rotting and saturated foundation...

Wednesday, Dec. 18.

The Queen's Messenger, Captain Seymour Conway, telegraphed to Lord Lyons this morning that the train had broken down between Boston and New York, and consequently we shall have to wait another day before the despatches are received. It is announced that the Rinaldo at once got up steam and proceeded round to the flagship of Admiral Milne, on the arrival of the Europa. The mails will not be despatched from here till to-morrow night, and the Cunard steamer will not leave till Friday morning. Once more suspense in the capital...

Thursday, Dec. 19.

The Queen's Messenger arrived before 10 o'clock last night, and proceeded to the Legation with his despatches. Mr. Seward also received despatches from the American Minister, and had an interview with the President. The wiser and more prudent people, of course, deprecate a war with England, but the press and bar-room sentiment is more in the "'Ercles vein," and there seems to be a determination to see how far war can be approached in the hope that Great Britain will recoil the first from the conflict. The members of Congress most averse from such a war are the very men who are most jealous of American honour, and yet they do not see how the Government can comply with a demand for the restoration of Mason and Slidell to the shelter of the British flag. This Government has compromised itself on that point. The only Minister who reports to the Congress directly is the Secretary of the Treasury. All the other Secretaries send in their reports through the President, who by the act adopts their language, inasmuch as he can strike out whatever he does not approve. Now, in the report of the Secretary of the Navy there was the most unqualified approval and adoption of Captain Wilkes's act, which is, therefore, approved and adopted by the President of the United States, How recede from that position with honour? How without as any rate, the lowering of great pretensions and lofty pride? Then, on the other hand, there is the ruin which war would bring upon the United States - the distraction it would inflict on her councils and the operations of her navy and army, the probable frustration of her efforts to subjugate the South, the possible success of the Confederacy, the national bankruptcy and destruction of the Government and State - and all for Mason and Slidell! Had they been given up at once, as was recommended to the Government here by persons of rank, experience, and intelligence, acquainted with the feelings of European nations on such points, all would have been well. The United States Government would have given a proof of good will and respect for England worth a thousand speeches and despatches, and would have lost nothing but an unrecognized right. Now there is hot blood on both sides. There is the usual talk about seizing Canada at once, and eventually grander conceptions are to be realized.

Up to 1 o'clock to-day Lord Lyons had not seen Mr. Seward, nor had any communication taken place between them. The Messenger must leave at 4 30 this evening, in order to reach New York in time for the Cunard steamer, which has been detained for him since Wednesday, so that Lord Lyons will scarcely be in a position to communicate at much length with his Government, but as there is another steamer on Saturday further, despatches will no doubt be sent on by an additional messenger to-morrow afternoon for that boat. There is no sign of a peaceful solution if the British Government insists on its demands and the American Government maintains its present attitude; but there are many who believe that, sooner than invoke the last tribunal, the Government of the United States may be induced to give up the prisoners under a sort of protest. Still, it is hoped that there may be a good deal of protocoling, note presenting, and despatch reading before the ultimate question comes to be decided. It is to be hoped, indeed, that there will be no intemperate haste on either side - no precipitate action. Those who may desire to see the United States enfeebled to the last degree need only stand by and wait; no man with the smallest foresight can imagine this war will be borne six months longer. There are some who say it must end in half the time, owing to the want of means. As, yet no one has suffered from the war by the action of the tax-gatherer, but when he begins to go round the world will see whether the people in the West will put their hands in their pockets. Mr. Chase has been summoned by the exigencies of his position to New York, where, it is rumoured the Government are going to suspend the exportation of specie. Mr. Chase, has, however, denied the report if the telegraph speaks truth. An issue of national paper, redeemable after the war - in other words, not redeemable now - must take place. There are millions sterling owed by Government to contractors and others who cannot get their money. The banks here hold immense demands of that kind, which they cannot get the Treasury to settle - in fact, the only classes paid with punctuality are those dangerous to keep unpaid -soldiers and sailors. The army and the navy perhaps are the only bodies employed by Government which have no right to complain up, to the present time. To the eyes of some there are unexplained sources of wealth in a war with Great Britain, and in order that they may have enough to do the Senate is to take into consideration in secret session to-day the affairs of Mexico, with which there is every disposition to interfere, if there was the power. It is proposed either to guarantee her liabilities, or to lend her the money to pay them. Certain deputies and friends of Mexico have arrived here, and have had interviews with the leading statesmen. But there is no Midas in the Cabinet - I mean as far as aurifying properties are concerned...

Friday, Dec. 20.

When Lord Lyons went over to the State Department yesterday Mr. Seward was down at the Senate, and therefore his Lordship could not see the Secretary of State, so that the stories founded on the supposed interview are all apocryphal. The President has not referred the English question to the Senate, nor is he likely to take it out of the hands of the diplomatists. The matter which was referred to the Committee on foreign Relations, of which Mr. Sumner is chairman, is kept perfectly quiet. It is regarded with the utmost interest in the inner political world here, and excites as much, if not greater interest than the English complications. The President has, in fact, thrown the whole responsibility of dealing with the Mexican question upon the Congress. The whole of the papers and correspondence connected with it are before them, and there is no doubt that the United States would in other days have been disposed to take part with the Mexicans in vindication of the Monroe doctrine, and would make a show of resisting the allied Powers in their endeavours to obtain redress and satisfaction. It is now assumed that the allies must have their own way, unless the Congress can devise some means of obviating what are called Spanish designs upon Mexico. There are some who affect to think that this is a more important matter than the Mason and Slidell affair. Indeed, I was informed to-day that the English Government had not made any demand for the restitution of those gentlemen, but had contented itself with a request that "reparation" should be made. It is probable my informant was very much mistaken, and the New York papers are beginning to evince a most remarkable moderation. There is no more writing about the "sensational exaggerations", of the English Press, "Et tu, Brute!" - no more hurling of defiances - no more invitations to Ireland to rebel immediately, and to rely on the United States, which cannot quite readily deal with its own rebellion, to aid her - no more solicitations to the whole of the Irish people to come over here and fight the battles of the Know-nothings and Native Americans - no more affronting words about the bluster and swagger of John Bull. There are some papers here which are always very much affected by "the miserable state of the Irish people". How far their sympathy goes maybe learned from the magnificent list of subscriptions for their present relief from a desolating famine brought on by the British aristocracy which I sent by last mail -a list of two and a subscription of 25l.! The contrast, however, between the tone of the papers now and that which prevailed even as recently as the beginning of the week is gratifying. It begins to be feared that England is really in earnest, and New York is apprehensive of trouble. The financial capital trembles, and the Press, finding itself opposed to the public sentiment, suddenly drops a few octaves - almost its full range from the war pitch and Jefferson Brick key. And, indeed, it is enough to induce any American who seeks the perpetuity of the Union, or even the success of Northern arms over the South, so as to be able to dictate peace, to take every means short of those dishonourable and degrading to avert a war with another enemy when he perceives how little progress has been made in subjugating the old antagonist...

P.S. - Lord Lyons and Mr. Seward had two interviews to-day, but from motives of courtesy and consideration the English Minister did not present the note and ultimatum to the Secretary of State, who was, however, made acquainted with the nature of the Government demands and did not express any desire for the presentation of the note. Mr. Seward did not, I believe, give any opinion as to the course his Government would pursue, but was friendly in his tone and remarks. Lord Lyons having thus cleared the ground will be obliged to seek from Mr. Seward a formal interview for the purpose of presenting the despatch and making the demands on the part of his Government, which the American public fondly believe will be of the mildest possible character. One paper, with characteristic - what shall I call it? - proposes that Mason and Slidell be put on board the San Jacinto, and thence transferred to the Trent, in order that Captain Wilkes may seize her and bring her into port for adjudication, as his omission to do so was, forsooth, the only matter of complaint. Another journal proposes the recognition of the Confederacy, leaving the Border States out, and then the United States can turn its army against England if she demand Slidell and Mason. There is a secret fear that the demand will be for no less, in spite of the assurances which are so freely given on all sides. Other journals clamour for an immediate despatch of forces to the Southern States to get into possession before any danger arises from the British fleet. It is insisted on that there are thousands there who would eagerly join the Unionists, especially against Great Britain.

Saturday, Dec. 21.

Mr. Seward called on Lord Lyons, and his Lordship had another interview subsequently in reference to the contents of the despatches. In these conversations no opinion has been expressed by Mr. Seward in explanation of the course which would be taken by his Government and by the President, who is the Executive in such matters, and it is not possible to say whether Mason and Slidell will be given up or not. There are two opinions on the subject, and these extend to all classes, but many still believe that no demand will be made for their surrender. Mr. Seward's manner is calm, much more so than it was in May last, and Lord Lyons has given him full time to familiarize his mind with the nature and bearing of the demands of his Government before he presents his ultimatum. It is gradually leaking out that these interviews are taking place, and the utmost danger is expressed at the idea of giving up the ambassadors. One officer suggested, as a good way of getting out of the difficulty, I am told, that Mason and Slidell should be tried for treason, and if found "Guilty", as they certainly would be, that they should be at once executed. Every attempt is made to conceal the demand from the public, but the Government organs are already becoming aware of the danger, and New York is quivering to its centre. In the camps there is immense greed of newspapers, and the bar-room talk is very fierce and determined. There are great hopes that France will interfere, and that she will, if it come to war, at last side with the United States, "her old friend: and ally." The Irish organs are shouting out very defiantly, and there are pleasant hopes of a Hibernian insurrection, just as the Northerners rely on a Negro insurrection in the South, of which, as yet we see no signs, notwithstanding the rumours of a great uprising in Mississippi.

Saturday, Dec. 21.

And so, while the men of war at Willard's are waging fierce battle in words, and killing many Philistines with the weapon of Samson, the journals come in from New York, which, being the city of dollars, has more influence than its rivals like to admit on the politics, or, at all events, the politicians of the country; and what do they say? Mark the eager rush at the fluttering sheets as the newsboys bear the moistened bundles into the crowd. An American journal is certainly not a thing for eternity. It is read and flung away at once -luckily for it. See how the leaders are read and the news is scanned, and the rag is thrown on the ground, and the angry look of the captains. There is a sound of peace where there is no peace but that which comes from the iron club of necessity. She is breaking the men of war in sunder. Let us take the New York Times, a decent Anglophobiac. It tells the world there is an undercurrent of popular feeling in England adverse to the national passion, which is a current we, being so long in America, do not believe to have much "go" or force in it; and then it gets on to the "probable solution of the English question." What that is we might not understand; but we can understand what the American question in re Mason and Slidell is, and on reading we find the New York Times argues that, as Captain Wilkes "unfortunately allowed the subject-matter of adjudication and the proofs to escape, the United States' Government is bound to restore the rebel Ministers to their original status." A very sound and very peaceable conclusion. But think of another view presented .to us a few hours ago. Lord Lyons has now obtained an appointment from Mr. Seward for Monday, when the British Minister will present his ultimatum. The facts will soon be known. Yesterday it loomed in New York that some very positive demand would be made, and all men's brows were clouded. Since I wrote there has been little alteration in the aspect of affairs...

Monday, Dec 23.

At 10 o'clock this morning Lord Lyons went to the State Department and communicated to Mr. Seward officially the note of the English Government. Mr. Seward expressed no opinion at this formal interview, and the note will he laid before a Cabinet Council, and will form the subject of its deliberations to-day or to-morrow; but, as the mail leaves Washington this afternoon, I shall not be able to .communicate anything in addition to this bare statement of facts. My impression is that Mr. Seward will endeavour to open a correspondence, and that failing, as he necessarily must, in that, he will refuse on the part of the Government to surrender Messrs. Mason and Slidell and their secretaries. In that case Lord Lyons leaves the United States with the members of his legation. Then follows a declaration of war - a sudden, destructive, and sanguinary war between two nations, of which the one is already engaged in a desperate conflict with an internal foe, and of which the other is an ancient monarchy, jealous, of its honour and its rights, but which has, nevertheless, endured, so long the threats and menaces of its powerful offshoot that forbearance has been construed into "dare not," and endurance has been mistaken for pusillanimity. Cotton and tobacco would be dearly purchased by England arid France at the cost of a war which would destroy our North American trade, shut up Northern granaries, and expose our commerce to the enterprise of privateers all over the world, acting under the letters of the only maritime people which refused to abandon the right of privateering in 1856; but all considerations of the kind would be base and mercenary in view of the tacit submission to an outrage and the surrender of a principle for which Great Britain has so strenuously contended. One of the first effects of the war would be, of course, the opening of the Southern ports. The fleets which at present watch Galveston, New Orleans, Mobile, Savannah, and Charleston would have to retire and concentrate inside the Northern ports or under the guns of Fortress Monroe and at Baltimore. The ports formed at Ship Island, at Tybee, at Beaufort, at Hatteras would necessarily be abandoned. Portland would be in danger. If the Federalists obtained any great success before our fleets assembled, however, and seized any of the Southern cities, the fleets would be obliged to act with caution, as the defences of such places as Charleston and Savannah, at Sumter and Pulaski, would then be turned against us. But, at the same time, the Federalists would be placed between two fires; they would be cut off from their friends and from all supplies unless they found more Unionists in the South than I believe in, and the only way of saving them would be for a powerful army to fight its way down to them by land, and hold the adjacent country. Fortress Monroe surrounded by enemies might, no doubt, make a vigorous resistance, but it would necessarily fall also from a heavy and long-continued vertical fire and by close blockade. Nor is it too much to suppose that the concentration of a British squadron on the Chesapeake and Delaware would force the Federal fleets to retire, and lead to a complete blockade of Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The effect of a Federal victory, if it could be obtained, would be enormous. It would probably transfer the Confederate batteries on the Potomac into the hands of the United States' troops and place both banks in their hands; it would give them the possession of rivers which would have opened up a friendly country to us. On the 18th or 19th of this month Charleston was closed by the sinking of 16 large vessels laden with stones a mile outside the bar, and that operation will be repeated at other ports where the Federal forces may fail to secure a footing. The blockading of the American coast will be all but impossible for several months; even the blockading of the principal ports will be difficult, because a great, consumption of coals will be needed in bad weather, and the ships will be compelled to retire from time to time to the coaling stations, so that not more than half the blockading squadrons can be available at a time. The weather in the early part of the yea
Th 9 January 1862

(by submarine and magnetic telegraph.)

CORK, Jan. 8.

Shortly before the Washington left New York a telegram was received at Inman's office from Washington saying that the Commissioners would be surrendered, and leave for England by the next mail. The prisoners were to be set free on the 29th.
Th 9 January 1862

Reuter's telegrams.

NEW YORK, Dec. 27, Evening.
(Per City of Washington viâ Queenstown.)

An Associated Press Washington despatch says it is reported and generally credited that the Trent affair has been adjusted. The terms of the adjustment are not, however, stated in this despatch.

The New York Times announces that it has authority to state that the matter has been adjusted.
The New York Herald argues that the Federal Government gains no advantage in retaining Messrs. Mason and Slidell, and that their surrender may take away the pretext for English and French interference.
The New York Herald continues, "The storm may blow over, but it will leave a debt of abuse from England to be repaid hereafter by America."
The New York Times thinks "that while England regards the rebels as belligerents and America regards them as rebels a pretext for war will eventually arise."

A false rumour of the release of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, which was set afloat yesterday, caused rather a feeling of relief than indignation in the popular mind at a settlement of the question.

The New York World is of opinion that people will submit to the surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell as a necessity of the present position, but with the hope of avenging their surrender hereafter. General Scott is still in New York. It is supposed that he brought no official offer from France.
The Federal steamer Santiago de Cuba has overhauled, on the coast of Texas, the schooner Eugenia Smith. She found nothing contraband on board the Eugenia Smith, but took from on board two passengers, who from the papers found upon them were supposed to be agents of the Confederate States.
These passengers, Messrs. Zacchiri and Rogers, have arrived at New York, and have been confined in Fort Lafayette.
The Key West correspondent of the New York Herald says the Eugenia Smith was sailing under British colours between Matanzas and Havannah.
The New York Herald thinks that the commander of the Federal steamer must have known what colours the Eugenia Smith sailed under or he would have taken her as a prize.
The New York Evening Post says the Eugenia Smith sailed under British colours, but was believed to be an American ship, partly owned by Messrs. Zacchiri and Rogers...

NEW YORK, Dec. 23, Morning.

Messrs. Mason and Slidell have been set at liberty by the Federal Government.

The New York Associated Press publish the following telegram:-
"The surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell will be better accepted as a political necessity on the seaboard than in the interior and in the West.
"It is unquestionable that in the agricultural portion of the Union the popular sentiment at this act of the President will be profound and lasting.
"On the eastern rim of the Atlantic slope, his declaration that he could not have two wars at once on his hands will be accepted as the justification of his policy."...
Th 9 January 1862


Twenty-four hours after the Message from Washington which we reported yesterday the Cabinet of the Federal States' Government broke its silence, and the Old World is no longer at enmity with the New. In the afternoon of the 27th of December Lord Lyons received an announcement from the United States' Government that they consented to deliver to him the four prisoners when and where he pleased. We draw a long breath, and are thankful. The suspense which has endured so long, and has weighed so heavily upon our peaceful avocations, has at last terminated. We are once more able to subside from the bustle of preparation, to withdraw our attention from the mustering of squadrons and the equipment of vast engines of destruction, and to busy ourselves about our own domestic affairs. With a clear conscience and a placid self-respect we can congratulate ourselves that in doing what is right we have done also what was expedient. The straightforward course of honour and of duty always has its compensations, but in this case it has had the unusual reward of a signal and immediate success.

Crotchetmongers and charlatans of every kind have hung upon the footsteps of the men who conducted this great affair, and have attempted to force upon their attention their importunate conceits. The owls of wisdom and the bats of ill augury filled the atmosphere with their shrill cries and dull flappings. But, keeping within the circle of manly sense and international precedent, the trusted chiefs of the British people have succeeded in conjuring away this storm and in bringing back a tranquil sky. Thanks, under Providence, to them, we have come out of this trial with our honour safe and no blood spilt. It is a great victory though it is but an escape from being obliged to conquer. We are but where we were before we were so grossly insulted. We have but curbed for a moment the insolence of a neighbour who took pleasure in continually provoking us, and had permitted himself at last to go beyond the possibility of sufferance. We have done nothing to set up monuments to commemorate; we have only held our own in the great community of nations, and read a necessary lesson to an ill-mannered companion. There have been times in our history - times when we had not the strength we could now put forth - when we should have had no such real joy as we now feel in the hinderance of such a conflict. There are other nations which even at this age of the world would not have thought it consistent with their renown to manifest such patience and long suffering under outrage as we have exhibited. If the same experiment had been tried upon France, we question whether the same forbearance would have been afforded to the aggressor, or the same readiness to receive a tardy and grudging reparation. We have manifested a deliberation and a tranquillity under insult which even we could not have shown towards a people for whom we thought it right to make fewer allowances, or whom we feared more. The Government of the Federal States had done in mere wantonness what no nation of the Old World had ever dared to do. They had invaded the sanctuary which England extends to all political exiles who seek her protection; and to this wound, inflicted on her most sensitive pride, they had added an insult to her maritime flag and a menace to her security in traversing the seas. On all hands it is now admitted that the offence was at once insult and wrong, and it is no great triumph, therefore, that it should have been followed by reparation. If we had had to deal with a friendly and courteous people, we should have had no occasion for preparations of war. If a French or an English captain, while the two nations are upon their present terms were to gratify a crack-brained freak or an insane thirst of notoriety by some piratical outrage against the foreign flag, neither Government would wait to see whether any miserable advantage could be gained by the circumstance. The act would be at once disavowed, and the booty returned, with apologies and compensation. This was the course which, if Federal America had been courteous or even shrewd, Federal America would have pursued. Mr. Seward missed a great opportunity when he failed to act as a European statesman would have acted under similar circumstances. At this moment there is no great sympathy here for either party. The attraction we feel towards a weaker nation invaded by a stronger and a richer nation is repelled by the very general detestation of slavery; and, if Mr. Seward had seized the opportunity for a graceful and a courteous act, we would not answer for how far our countrymen might have been tempted from their rigorous neutrality. It was a gross blunder for the shrewd Minister of a shrewd people to miss the chance of a great advantage only to do the same act at last under circumstances of unavoidable humiliation.

But we are told that a very elaborate Note of protest accompanies this surrender. This voluminous gloss upon a very simple fact is still upon its way from Queenstown. We cannot say we are very impatient for it. We have long since learnt to value Transatlantic statesmen less for what they say than for what they do. It is by deeds, and not by arguments, that the fact we today announce has been brought about. It is not Vattel and Bynkershoek, and Stowell and De Hauteville, who have influenced this controversy, but the promptitude with which we reinforced Admiral Milne's fleet, and poured battalion after battalion into Canada. They loudly proclaim this in America, and Mr. Seward's Note will very probably be found to bear marks of the same sentiment. We make up our minds in advance, therefore, to accept with unruffled equanimity any quantity of words. Even if there should be muffled threats and expressions of ill will we shall humbly hope to outlive them. The aggressor is making retribution. It never has been held of much consequence whether he does it with a good grace or no. The substantial apology lies in the fact of the surrender of the thing taken. We hope to find in Mr. Seward's Note an expression of regret that he should ever have employed so inconsiderate a commander as Captain Wilkes, or should have been so ill-advised as to persevere in a tacit recognition of his act; but we shall be neither surprised or discomfited if this hope is not fulfilled.

To-day, however, it is enough that we congratulate ourselves that the danger is past, and all present apprehension of war at an end. Let us also especially congratulate ourselves that the crisis found this united nation and her loyal Colonies so well prepared, and that it leaves us so well protected. We have every reason to be satisfied with the position which this country has held throughout. We have never deviated from grave and courteous discussion, and have never descended to retort the wild invectives which came from the other side of the Atlantic. The War Departments have manifested an efficiency which gives us confidence in ourselves, and will give us security from future insult. The Government have acted with a rare courtesy and temper, but have displayed, together with dignified deliberation, firmness, promptitude, and courage. Nor will we refrain from adding, what every one will feel while he reads this news, that the man upon whom the nation instinctively relied while the crisis lasted deserves our warmest gratitude now that the peril is overcome. It is indeed a rare triumph to grace the latter years of a life so happily prolonged, that Lord Palmerston has found, and has used, the opportunity to curb the arrogance of the only people which has in this generation entered systematically upon a course of offence towards England.
Th 9 January 1862While the country may fairly congratulate itself on the happy results which have attended the firm policy of its Government, and may look with satisfaction on this new proof that a bold attitude and straightforward demand form the safest course of action in international difficulties, it would be ungracious to forget how much our cause has been strengthened by the approbation and good will of the other Powers of Europe. To fulfil strictly the duties of peace, but to be ready to assert our rights even by war, is true wisdom, and we may hope that the national policy of late years has been such as to convince all our neighbours that we will neither commit nor suffer aggression. In spite of the wars which have, unhappily, made the last few years a time of anxiety for Europe, it is easy to perceive that there is a steady elevation of public morality and an awakening of national conscience The most irresponsible rulers are anxious to stand well with the world, and every faction uses the language of moderation, and endeavours to clothe its acts with the pretexts of virtue. To the old contempt which would await a pusillanimous nation would now be added a general indignation and a spirit of resistance against any community which should break through the laws devised for the common security. It is to the feeling that England in her demands at Washington was supporting the cause of civilization and insuring the safety of the seas that we owe the unanimity of approval which has been shown during the last few weeks. Not only have foreign nations expressed no jealousy at the display of those enormous armaments which sprang so suddenly into existence at our great ports, but they have plainly told us that nothing less could be expected of England if she cared for her own honour, or was willing to uphold the principles which are a security to all.

Such good will deserves recognition, and will not be forgotten by the British people. It shows that even great power does not provoke envy when it is exerted in a good cause. There are States which, from their history and traditions and policy, are predisposed to take the part of America against ourselves, and which in any quarrel where the right was not plainly on our side might be unconsciously affected by their old prejudices. But in this case our rivals both past and present, together with those States which differ most from ourselves in political principles, have combined to give active encouragement or tacit assent to our proceedings. Above all, the acknowledgments of Englishmen are due to the French Government. To the position taken by the Emperor from the outset of this discussion the Americans may, perhaps, owe it that they have not plunged into a mad and ruinous warfare. The blindness of their politicians and the ignorance of their people from the beginning of the war have, indeed, been truly wonderful. Either from a fond belief that France would support them in all their schemes, or with a wish to flatter the self-love of the French by contrasting their openness and generosity with the alleged perfidy of England, the Northern Americans have never failed to assort that, whereas we were disposed to take advantage of their dissensions, and had recognized the Confederates in order to break up the Republic, the French had shown a steady friendship for the Northern cause. It has long been evident to the world, and is now proved by the publication of the correspondence, that France and England were acting in unison, or at least on the selfsame principles. But until the affair of the Trent took place the completeness of this accordance was not yet made manifest.

it must now be admitted by the most steady adherents to old maxims of policy that, of the two great States of Western Europe, one can see the other enter into a dispute without an overwhelming desire to thwart and circumvent its rival. When the demands of England were despatched early last month France did not want advisers in the American interest. There were those who saw with jealousy the prospect of a war in which the ships of the United States would be swept from the seas, and the flag of England made more powerful than ever by the destruction of one of the second-rate navies. In the highest society the cause of the North was defended by a Prince in close relationship to the Throne. Besides this there was the usual American colony at Paris, reinforced at the moment by the veteran General Scott, whose military career might be supposed to recommend him favourably to the Court of the Tuileries. It will be doing no injustice to any one if we say that all the efforts of the American party were used to induce the French Government to give some aid or comfort to the Northern States. But the Emperor at once made up his mind. Sharing the conviction of his people that the act of Captain Wilkes was an outrage on the Law of Nations, he caused to be conveyed to General Scott and the Americans such an expression of his opinion that the General at once set off for America, where he happily arrived soon enough to give his advice to the vacillating Cabinet. Not content with this indirect aid to the cause of peace, the Imperial Government addressed to its Minister at Washington the remarkable despatch dated the 3d of December, pointing out in the clearest manner the violation of law committed by Captain Wilkes, and warning the President that not only could the Federal Government expect no countenance from France, but that France would be obliged to give her full moral support to the cause in which England was arming.

The good effect of this communication cannot be doubted, nor are we inclined to under-estimate its importance in causing the Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln to yield to our just claims. It is not as a military ally that we have counted on the help of France in this matter. We are able, as the last six weeks have proved, to maintain our own rights and vindicate our own honour, without the assistance of any other Power. The Federal Government knew that if it refused reparation the consequences would have been terrible to its people, and completely decisive of the war in which it is now engaged. Had France never rejected the advances of the American party; had M. Thouvennel's Note never been despatched, the surrender of the four prisoners would, in all probability, have taken place. But perhaps this would not have been done with the same readiness, or until further steps had been taken by England to assert her rights, which would have embittered the animosity and humiliated the pride of a people whom she was unwilling to regard as enemies. By his good feeling and sound judgment the French Emperor has aided in bringing this dispute to a close. He has convinced the Americans from the first that they had no chance of engaging the sympathy or the ambition of any European nation on their side, and that hereditary rivalries do not keep their ground against the dictates of public morality and the opinion of the community of nations in which France holds so high a place. Thus, not only have the Northern States escaped the losses and the humiliations a war with England must have entailed upon them, but they learn a lesson which will be useful to them during the rest of their struggle with their alienated fellow-citizens. They now know that neither the desire to embarrass a rival State, nor the remembrance of former passages in their history, will seduce European nations into sympathy with an unjust cause, or into endeavours to prop up a failing power. If the chill of adversity cools the heated imagination which sees nothing in war but a succession of triumphs, the lesson will have been worth the learning.
Th 9 January 1862Preparations for a naval war continue to be made with undiminished energy at Portsmouth. Nearly 4,500 men are at present employed in the dockyard alone, and this number is exclusive of seamen riggers and men from the Steam Reserve. The foregoing number of men at work in the yard comprises 1,279 shipwrights, 879 of whom are of the established class, and the remainder are hired hands; 80 established and 13 hired caulkers, 147 established and 90 hired joiners, 11 wheelwrights, 200 established and 89 hired smiths, 76 established and 60 hired millwrights, 59 coppersmiths, 47 at the wood mills, 90 sawyers, 181 established and 764 hired labourers, about 60 locksmiths, braziers, and painters, and in the steam factory department about 750. All this crowd of men are fully employed, and many of them are working extra hours to complete some of the most pressing portions of the work, as in the mast-making department, which is now working up to 8 p.m., to complete the masts and yards for the Black Prince, Glasgow, and Octavia. The smiths' shop, with its 102 fires, seven furnaces, and seven Nasrnyth's hammers ranging from a 10 cwt. to a 5-ton head - the latter having attached to it an hydraulic crane with a 50-ton lift, - is as busily employed throughout as the other departments in providing for the wants of the ships preparing for the pennant. The ten docks possessed by the yard, are all occupied in one way or another, and in the majority of them swarms of workmen may be seen engaged on every part of the vessels, in carrying out the necessary repairs, &c. In No. 1 is the Coquette, 5, screw, now nearly complete for commission. In No. 2 the remains of the Meteor, iron-cased floating battery, are being broken up as rapidly as possible to render the dock available for the general work of the yard. In Nos. 3 and 4 are the Highflyer, 21, screw, and the Rosamond, 6, paddle; the former unopened, but requiring heavy repairs, and the latter partially repaired and destined for a floating steam factory. From both these vessels the men hitherto employed on them have been withdrawn, and placed upon more pressing work. In No. 3 is the Esk, 21, screw, with stem out, and partially stripped of bow planking, disclosing a very rotten and defective state. Her time for being out of the dockyard hands is given for the 9th of May, but at present she has not quite 50 hands upon her. In No. 6 is one of the harbour steamtugs. In Nos. 7 and 10, the double dock, is the Black Prince, the great trouble of the dockyard officials. Internally she is a vast workshop, in which artisans of every kind are busily at work with but little hope of finishing their labours by the time given for her to be out of hand - the 30th of April next. The teak lining forward and aft of her armour plating is being completed, and the scuppers leading to the "main sewer" are being enlarged and increased in number. Another bridge is also being constructed across the quarter-deck. In addition to the construction of the model for her fish-head, and the general fitting of her main and upper decks, an immense deal remains to be yet done - such as the construction of her hammock-nettings, alterations and additions to her head rails, netting, and fitting of her cabins below. In the Black Prince, as in the Warrior, the crew sleep and mess on the main deck, in lieu of the lower deck as in ordinary frigates, owing to the iron ships below the main deck being divided into compartments. These consist of, in the after part of the ship abaft the armour plating, -1st compartment from stern, store-rooms; 2d compartment, the officers' mess-room and cabins, or ward-room; and the 3d compartment, next to the armour plating, containing the clerks' office in the centre, with a mess-room on each side, one for the midshipmen and the other for the engineer officers. The next compartment, inside the armour plating, contains the magazines, store and light rooms, succeeded by five others within the armour plating, containing respectively the engine-room, chain and shot lockers, shell-rooms and coal-rooms, after boiler space, fore boiler space; and, lastly, the fore hold and fore magazine. Forward of the armour plating is the cable tier, prisons, and provision-rooms, the warrant officers' cabins, the sick bay, and lastly, in the bows, warrant officers' store-rooms. Outside the ship the bilge pieces on the bottom are nearly affixed to the angle irons, and the scraping of the ship's bottom has been begun, to prepare it to receive a coating of the patent composition, prepared by the Admiralty chymist, Mr. Hay, with which also the bottom of the Resistance, at Chatham, is ordered to be coated. One serious defect, of an almost if not quite irremediable character, exists in the construction of iron-cased ships as constructed at present, and is fully exemplified in both the Warrior and Black Prince. This evil is the penetration of water between the teak and armour-plates. This water naturally forces for its exit a passage between the joints of the armour plates, and the opinion at present is that nothing can remedy this under the circumstances of tongued and grooved edged plates hung on a ship's sides by through bolts. Caulking is stated to be useless, and that cannot be wondered at considering the slung weight to be dealt with, and the ship's motion at sea. But the effect of the action of the water in the grooves of the plates and upon the iron bolts can only be expected to be such that in four or five years from the time of commission each ship will require replating. In No. 8 dock, the Glasgow, 51, screw, is being caulked and prepared to receive her copper. Her time for being out of the dockyard hands is the 28th proximo. No. 9 dock has been used of late, for breaking up old ships, but it has been cleared during the past week, and yesterday received the Chanticleer, 17, screw, Commander C. Stirling, and is therefore now added to the list available for general service. In the steam-basin are the Prince Regent, 89, screw, complete in machinery; the Octavia, 50, screw, ordered to be finished by the 1st of March; the gunboats Swinger and Savage received their 100-pounder Armstrongs to-day, and were to be ready for sea this evening; the gunboat Jasper, of 89-horse power, being brought forward as quickly as possible by the shipwright and factory departments; the Hazard, with Capt. Cowper Cole's shield model, and the Wallace, steam tender. Alongside the north wall of the basin is the Dart, 5, three-masted screw schooner, nearly complete in rig stores and armament; and the four gunboats, Earnest, Foam, Cracker, and Pheasant, only requiring each their 40-pounder (they have their carriage and equipment on board) to make them ready to proceed to sea as soon as their crews and powder could be sent on board. In the ship basin the Tribune, 28, screw, has her machinery in order, and is being hurried forward in the other parts of her outfit; the Fancy, gunboat, is completing heavy repairs to her hull; the Sultan is fitting for a receiving ship, and the Juno fitting for a police ship. Her upper deck seams have been payed on opposite sides by the patent waterproof glue and ordinary pitch, to test the merits of the former, of which much is expected. The poop of Her Majesty's ship Victory is also to be caulked with it, as are two ships to be named by the Admiralty, one of which will be despatched on service in a hot climate, and the other in a cold one. The Britannia, naval cadet ship, Capt. R. Harris, is to be taken into this basin on the 14th inst. to complete her outfit for Portland. Alongside the shear jetty of the ship basin the Duncan, 101, screw, is carrying on her outfit, to be completed by the 28th inst., and yesterday shipped her Griffiths propeller; while off in the stream, moored in a line with each other, at about a cable's length apart, lie, ready to proceed to sea at an hour's notice, three of the finest 50-gun screw frigates in the world - the Euryalus, Shannon, and Sutlej. In the building slips there is no great bustle, all the labour of the yard being devoted to bringing forward the craft most urgently wanted. In No. 1 slip the Helicon, paddle-wheel despatch vessel of 835 tons and 200-horse power, has her timbers in position, with the exception of a portion of her stern. In No. 2 the Harlequin, 17, screw, 950 tons, 200-horse power [cancelled in 1864], is in frame and nearly ready for planking. ln the next slip the Dryad, frigate, of 51 guns, 3,027 tons, and 600 horse-power, is complete in her framing, getting her deck beams in position &c. The next slip is empty, but is designed for the Kent, iron-plated frigate [cancelled in 1863]. In the last slip stands the Royal Alfred, laid down for a 91, but now converted to a frigate of 50 guns, and to be cased with 4½-inch plates from the manufactory of Messrs. Brown and Co., the Atlas Steel and Iron Works, Sheffield. One peculiarity in these plated frigates will be that they will have a stem falling inboard from the water line, and carry no projecting figurehead. In addition to the number of men we have quoted as being employed in the yard by the Government, there are also a number of others employed by private contractors in the construction of No. 11 dock (to be capable of receiving ships of the Warrior class) and other works. The only part of the yard, however, which is really inactive in the midst of all this bustle is the coaling jetty erected by a contractor at the south end of the yard. This work projects some 60 feet from the dockyard into the harbour for a length of 600 feet and upwards, and its cost for the jetty alone (saying nothing of the expensive hydraulic machinery, not yet erected) was 15,000l. Its professed purpose was to fulfil the duties of a grand embarkation and disembarkation stage for troops from large transports, and to coal two such ships as the Warrior and the Black Prince at one and the same time. Its fulfilled duties have been that a merchant transport discharging troops on one occasion grounded at low water and proved it to be at present totally unsuited for the purposes for which it was constructed. It may be rendered serviceable, and perhaps for the duties for which it was originally intended, but at the present time it is useless. The work consequent on the outfit of the ships and gunboats at Portsmouth is not confined to the dockyard alone, the Royal Clarence Victualling Yard at Gosport and the ordnance and military store department having also their share of the work to carry out.

The steam transport St. Andrew, Capt. Dutton, now embarking materials of war for America at the Royal Arsenal pier, Woolwich, has shipped 300 tons of heavy Armstrong guns, shot and shell, 900 tons of light stores, consisting of cases of small arms, bales of warm clothing, accoutrements, hospital comforts, and other miscellaneous articles, and 85 tons of powder. Notwithstanding her superior cabin accommodation no positive orders had been received up to last night for the embarcation of any passengers.

The hired steamship Brunette yesterday, moored off Woolwich Arsenal, and will take up the berth of the St. Andrew to ship 500 tons of shot, shell, and other stores for Bermuda.

The steam transport Parthenon yesterday commenced receiving about 500 tons of heavy cargo, - namely, shot and shell, for Jamaica.
Fr 10 January 1862


There is little mystery in modern diplomacy. The bees work under glass hives, and seem to find pleasure and advantage in the transparency of their toil. There is not a step in the proceedings which have just led to the re-establishment of amicable relations with Federal America which is not as well known to the most humble member of the British public as it is to a Cabinet Minister. Everything that is mysterious is mysterious alike to all on this side of the Atlantic. By what means Captain Wilkes came to commit his, now disavowed, act of violence on the high seas none of us can tell; nor how it came to be adopted by the American Admiralty, or countenanced by the close custody of the captives. It is enough for us to know that the responsibility of the act was repudiated on the 28th of last month by the Federal Government. Nor is it possible to surmise why the American Cabinet were so long in stating their convictions that the act was indefensible, and that the men must be given up, seeing that by this long concealment of their convictions they destroyed their own financial credit in Europe, and put us to the expense of rendering Canada secure against any present or future contingency. Neither is it plain to us why the news of the surrender of the prisoners should have been unknown in Washington when it was on its way to England, or why the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, should have been allowed to thunder away in the Senate against the supposition that England had demanded reparation, at the moment when Mr. Seward was elaborately proving that he had no possible course before him but to surrender the prisoners. All this secrecy is explained by several hypotheses. Mr. Seward's friends explain it by a reason very favourable to that gentleman's prudence and judgment, and say that, notwithstanding he had that clear course before him which he has mapped out in an unmeasurable despatch, yet he had also a patriotic President before him, who would not yield until many of the advantages of yielding had been lost, and a patriotic populace behind him, who would have rendered it difficult for him to yield if they had been let into the secret.

What mystery there has been, however, has been found in the Republican Government, and, what is a still stranger lesson, the mystery has all been used in favour of peace. The proceedings of the British Government have been throughout carried on in the broad torchlight of the public Press. The act itself was no sooner announced than the Law Officers were set to work upon it, and their decision was made public. The substance of the despatch demanding reparation was known throughout the kingdom before it had left these shores. It was tracked on its way by the public eye; we knew when it would arrive, and with what deliberate delays its tenour was to be communicated before it was actually delivered. We also knew that Mr. Sewards attitude towards Lord Lyons had been for some time previous so threatening that our Minister had avoided as much as possible all interviews with him, lest he should find himself the subject of some affront which his duty would compel him to resent. Therefore it was that the Government telegrams not only announced from day to day the proceedings of Lord Lyons, but also noted the lapse of time after the demand had been delivered, and kept us informed of the unpromising silence of the American Cabinet. During the whole course of the crisis the British nation have been admitted, as it were, to the Cabinet, and every step has been taken with the full acclaim of the country, Now that it is ended, we have nothing to look back upon with regret. We believe we may say that Mr. Seward himself has expressed to Lord Lyons his sense of the manner in which this very delicate negotiation has been conducted, and has admitted that hi very difficult task was greatly facilitated by the extreme courtesy of the British Minister and his Government, and by the considerate manner in which the question had been presented to him for solution. All this we looked on upon as it passed, and, looking on, we all approved. Perhaps we may think that, if Mr. Seward's course had been equally frank and public from the first, his people, like our people, would have seen in what has now happened the natural sequence to the transaction. If he also had published the opinions of his Law Officers, he might have saved Boston from so stultifying itself, and New York from such sad exhibitions; he might have prevented his countrymen from making a hero of the author of this vapouring outrage, and saved them from the sting of sharing his humiliation. If, as our Correspondent anticipates, Mr. Seward has now to suffer for doing right, he will owe much of the unpopularity he has to endure to his own procrastination.

Yet, if the diplomatic note which he delivered to Lord Lyons when announcing his readiness to surrender the prisoners is to receive anything more than a credence of courtesy, there never could have been a moment when he had any doubt as to the entire illegality of the proceeding of his officer. With a verbosity never equalled even in diplomacy, and with an inconsequential vagueness never surpassed even in Congressional debate, Mr. Seward in this long document wanders through the history of all past transactions. Inasmuch, however, as he concludes that, notwithstanding all he has so lengthily and so vaguely premised, he can come to no other conclusion upon the circumstances of the present case than that the act was indefensible, and that the prisoners must be restored, the obvious course was to accept the fact of the reparation and to disregard the comment. Such, we believe, has been the course adopted by our Government. A Cabinet Council was held yesterday, at which this very elaborate document was considered. An answer will, we understand, be returned, expressing the gratification of Her Majesty's Government at the disavowal of the act of Captain Wilkes, accepting the satisfaction rendered, and assuming that the precedent in the case of the Trent will rule the more recent case of the seizure made by the captain of the Santiago de Cuba on board the British schooner Eugenia Smith. As to the general discussion of the law of neutrals, into which Mr. Seward enters at so much length, the Government will decline any answer until they have had an opportunity of submitting the whole Note to their Law Officers. There are propositions laid down in this Note which are not at all admissible, and it is of the highest importance that we should not suddenly bind ourselves to the abolition of belligerent rights which may be to ourselves at some future time of vital importance; nor that we should, on the other hand, admit the right of any foreign State to carry our Mail Packets into their ports and submit them to the arbitrament of their Prize Courts. After the delivery of the prisoners all these points may be very properly raised, and can be conveniently discussed; but it is expedient to separate this discussion entirely from the settlement of the misunderstanding which has so nearly precipitated us into war. Whenever the proper time comes we shall probably insist, with all authority in our favour, that a belligerent has a right to communicate with a neutral Power in a neutral ship; and that it is a presumption that in such communication there is nothing inconsistent with the character of the neutral nation, and therefore nothing injurious to the other belligerent.

Let the business of the day, however, suffice for the day. The quarrel being over, we are now rather better friends than we were before it commenced. Mr. Seward and Lord Lyons know each other better than they did some time ago, and are more conversant with each other's views and instructions. The tone of the American papers has, we are glad to remark, become very much more reasonable. Perhaps, in the face of the declarations made to our Correspondent, that a Northerner hates England twice as much as he loves the Union, and that America would give a million of men for a war with us, it might be imprudent to offer a temptation to strife by decreasing our force in Canada. We may hope, however, that whatever irritation now exists may gradually subside, and that we may experience no more of those fractious and splenetic annoyances which engender ill feeling and lead at least to great perils.
Fr 10 January 1862To all intents and purposes, except the actual shedding of blood, we have been for the last month at war with the Northern States of America. We have been spending money at a war rate; we have been moving troops, completing and equipping ships, preparing arms and ammunition, employing our minds and hardening our hearts, as if for impending and inevitable war. Till the moment of collision, till the pickets are driven in, the guns fired, and the men begin to drop, the greatest war is little else than what we have been waging since the capture of the Confederate Commissioners. In the United States two immense armies are collected and brought face to face, where they have stood for months, and all with as little loss of life as we have suffered by our military and naval preparations. Had the Australasian foundered in the snow-storm off the Island of Anticosti and been lost with all souls on board, our war would have cost nearly as many lives as the war hitherto has cost either side in the United States. It is war to be engaged as if for war, to be compassing and contriving the destruction of our foes and the protection of our friends, to be counting upon honours and preparing for losses, and to be occupied in the subject to the exclusion of our ordinary thoughts and cares. Already they talk of our having spent two millions, but when the bills are all in, and the works denoted in the daily columns of our Naval and Military Intelligence all completed and paid for, we shall be prepared for twice the sum. Ships cannot be finished in a hurry with men as thick as they can stand, regiments cannot be brought up to the full complement and carried comfortably across the Atlantic and back, without incalculable cost, and nobody dreams that his Income-tax will be less next year. This, then, is war. It is war, too, when the Christmas circle is broken up by the absence of the best man on a distant errand of destruction across a stormy ocean, off a dangerous coast, or in forests and snow-tracks. It is war in a form to strike all eyes, when the hunt, the dance, the theatricals miss the best riders, the best partners, the only manager, and any post may bring the news of another use, and perhaps another doom, for noble qualities. So virtually we have been at war all this Christmas time, and now suddenly Peace is proclaimed, and we are at war no longer. We have to suspend operations, to bring home our forces, and do everything as if after a war of two or of thirty years. How, then, do we, and how do the British people, take an announcement which heretofore has been celebrated with processions and proclamations, with bonfires and bell-ringing, with feasts and holydays, with illuminations and fireworks? We do not suppose that the national delight will be so ecstatic and unqualified as when we had been supping full of Crimean or Indian horrors for two years, and knew by recent experience what war really was. The most rational among us had speculated on the probable length of the war and its other contingencies; but that was only a speculation, and the gloomiest speculation can never strike the mind like the terrible fact. When we have imagined a thousand horrors, and come to understand that we could not escape them all, or most of them, one of them actually comes to pass surpassing them all. We have only to suppose a blockading squadron driven on shore and compelled to surrender, a military force cut off and frozen to death or submission, or some unaccountable reverse like the tale of Bull's Run, and we shall see at once that England is not likely to have the same hankering or Peace now as if she had been at actual war for a year or two. They who can look forward into the black future, and who have friends or incomes to be decimated, will rejoice with a rational and patriotic rejoicing. But it is no great injustice to the popular mind of this country to suspect it of a shade of disappointment. The public have made up their mind to the game of war; they have given up their other engagements; they have paid their money, and taken their places, when the manager comes before the curtain and tells them that the principal actor has sent his apologies and cannot attend. It is possible to be disappointed even of misery or disaster. We have heard of a man who had so persuaded himself he had a cancer that he felt annoyed to find himself mistaken. When you have screwed up your courage, it is provoking to find it uncalled for. Litigants with ruin staring them in the face have felt themselves hurt by a timely compromise or concession. The Americans themselves assure us that the popular feeling on their side is quite as much a mad desire to exchange blows with the mother country, for any or no reason, as a sense of wrong; and one cousin is too like the other not to be liable to a purely bellicose and combative excitement.

The knowledge on the part of our statesmen that the British people are only too ready and too able to fight for any cause, and to defend their interest and their honour whenever at stake, has, no doubt, contributed to our patient and forbearing policy hitherto with the United States. As regards this froward child, we have always felt a difficulty in setting our interest and our honour itself against those of our own offspring, and have relied on our power of defending them whenever it should be absolutely required. In a word, we could always wait for the hour when this painful necessity should arrive, and meanwhile we could comfort and assure ourselves with a merited confidence in our justice and safety. We felt that a war between two States of the same origin and language, and in many respects so similar and so connected, would be a public scandal, for which any amount of triumph would hardly compensate. Thus, the higher feeling of the parent, the brother, and the gentleman have been permitted to step in between the decidedly combative qualities too apparent on both sides of the Atlantic. Our statesmen have held back the people, knowing well that this people would be able to defend and avenge itself.

But our recent preparation has not been thrown away. Nine-tenths of the operations of real war are without any immediate and actual result. The demonstration which costs immense efforts, marching, countermarching, conveyance and abandonment of stores, constructions and destructions, and even the loss of many lives, may completely answer its intended purpose of deceiving or dividing a foe without in the least answering its apparent end. We have set all our naval and military forces in full current for Canada, and the current is already flowing thither at a much quicker rate than we can recall. That such a current should be suddenly arrested and brought back without a blow being struck may seem to realize an utter nullity. If, however, it has assured and will assure the Americans of our sincerity and earnestness, it has answered its purpose as much as if it had encountered the full tide of American war, and written its loss, not only on the mind, but on the bloody battle-field and the wreck-strewn wave. Less decision, a less rapid movement of soldiers, a less hurried equipment of vessels, might have been interpreted into a makebelieve, and Lord Palmerston might have been complimented on an effective "demonstration". As it is, the Americans will hear all that has been done. They may be assured that it has not been a little war they have escaped, even though its actual course has been bloodless and short.

In earnestness, in determination, and in magnitude of purpose, it would have been a very great war. It has, too, like an inspection or a review, or rather like a night alarm for practice against surprises, left much instruction. Prepared as we are, we cannot but find it a difficult task to concentrate and direct all our resources at a day's warning to any one point. Mistakes must be made or discovered. Ships, arms, and even men, are found not so readily as they seemed. The capacities of establishments are probed, as also the vigour and skill of officials. It has been a great field-day, such as nothing less than an Empire in danger can give us. All England has turned out to resist an outrage and vindicate her flag. Fortunately for all, the assailant has been wise in time, and England returns to her quarters with the feeling that her preparations have not been thrown away.
Fr 10 January 1862

(from our special correspondent.)

Omitting all matters of detail till next post, I hasten to announce that the Government of the United States has acceded to the demand of Great Britain and has consented to surrender Mr. Mason, Mr. Slidell, and their secretaries. This morning Mr. Seward sent to Lord Lyons a request that his Lordship would call at the State Department, and in the interview which took place Mr. Seward handed the British Minister an exceedingly voluminous note, which will no doubt see the light some day in England, and informed him at the same time that the captives were at his Lordship's disposal. Let us take this act as the expression of the conviction in the minds of the American Government that they were wrong in retaining their prisoners, and that the seizure was an outrage, nor let us, till we know the nature of the despatch, attribute any other motives to them than the desire to do what is right. The effect in this country, when it is known, will be exceedingly great, for such a dish of humble pie cannot be taken into stomachs which have been disordered by cocktail talking without a great deal of nausea. Do not imagine that the real intelligence and worth of the people will disapprove the act. The men I allude to are the writers in the "sensation" press, and the bunkum orators, as well as the more violent Abolitionists, who by insulting menaces and intemperate pledges have bound themselves to oppose the concession, no matter how just it might prove to be. Doubtless, Mr. Seward in the elaborate despatch he has written will seek to show that Great Britain has laid down some new principle in this transaction, and in swelling periods will endeavour to demonstrate that by yielding the prisoners the United States has gained some great point for herself and the world in general from Great Britain, which can never again take political offenders from neutral ships. Let it be so. The case is memorable enough and clear enough to serve as a precedent. No one can doubt but that the relations of both countries would have been much more satisfactory if the Government of Washington had restored the prisoners as soon as it heard of the capture, and if all the irritating writing and speaking to which we have been treated here, and the expense, anxiety, and sense of indignity to which we were exposed in Great Britain, had been obviated. I fear that the wrath to come will be greater than anything yet experienced by us, and that a terrible future is in store for Great Britain, at the indefinite time when so many great things arc to come to pass. The Government here, which has thus far got over its external dangers, will now have to face a tremendous ordeal. The sense of justice or right or even necessity cannot prevail over the cherished love of doing what they like among the masses. The Union can get more than half a million of men to fight for her, at a considerable expense, it is true, but moved in the main, let us admit, by love for the Union; but she could, I am assured, raise a million to fight against England. That is, the hate of Great Britain is at least twice as strong as the love of the Union among many millions of Americans. They will he disappointed this time. If Mason and Slidell he surrendered without any extravagant threats in the press, or without any indignation meetings, we may hope that friendly relations will be preserved for years to come, as it will be a token that in a crisis the sound sense, patriotism, and desire to do what is demanded by justice and right predominate in the United States over the violence of popular passion. Let us stand by and see if it will be so, and let us be thankful meantime that we are spared the war which would have been forced on us in vindication of our honour had the Government here been deaf to the voice of reason. The secret of the Government has been well kept. Mr. Seward must have enjoyed the pleasure of tantalizing Mr. Sumner and the other Senators and politicians who thought to worm out his secret, for he is fond of a joke, and could not have been indifferent to the pangs of the Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Relations of the Senate, who to the last persisted in believing or in stating that Great Britain had made no absolute demand which did not admit of either a deliciously long correspondence, or a delicate negotiation by mediator or arbitrator. Some of my good friends of the sword who have been very fierce and belligerent will, no doubt, be difficult to appease. Men like M'Dowell, Halleck, and General Scott, who appreciated the gravity of the question, have spoken of it with moderation. Some of them, indeed, have from the first maintained that the seizure was unjustifiable. As to the officers of the navy, I must do them the justice to say that those I have met were from the first willing to surrender the Southern Commissioners, and that more than one expressed the strongest disapprobation of Captain Wilkes's act, notwithstanding that the Secretary of the Navy had highly lauded him. Mr. Welles is of the same opinion still, and submits to "force majeure."

Mr. Fox, the able and experienced Assistant-Secretary of the Navy - a naval officer who has seen the world, and has raised his head above the clouds and mists which dim the vision of the indigenous American who has never stirred out of his own country - differed from his chief. There were people who went about talking and writing in the most patriotic manner about never surrendering till death or afterwards, and seeing every city in a blaze before they would surrender the prisoners. These people will now most probably go about using the same language in another tense, and declaring that it would have been better to have done all sorts of things than to have performed an act of justice, and have averted much bloodshed and misery to two kindred nations, while they at a blow destroyed the possibility of success in the contest on which they had set their hearts. The interval which has elapsed since Monday, when Lord Lyons presented his note, of which he had at several previous interviews discussed the nature with Mr. Seward, was not unreasonably long, though it has given birth to a despatch which might not be characterized in the same way, and the press and the politicians were alike in the dark as to the demands of Great Britain, and the view taken of them by the Government. It was only the pressure of circumstances, and the convincing arguments founded on the state of the navy and the present position of affairs, which prevailed over the indisposition of the highest persons in the State to yield the prisoners. So late as yesterday a violent speech was made in the Senate by Mr. Hale, in introducing a resolution for the correspondence arising out of the Trent affair...
Fr 10 January 1862

[A portion of the following appeared in our Second Edition of yesterday:-]
Reuter's telegram's.


The Canadian steamer Jura, which arrived here this morning, was detained at Portland six hours for Lord Lyons' despatches, which she takes to Liverpool direct.

NEW YORK, Dec. 28.

The diplomatic correspondence in reference to the case of Messrs. Mason and Slidell has been published.
It commences with a despatch from Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams in London, declaring that Captain Wilkes acted without instructions, and hoping that the British Government would consider the subject in a friendly temper. Mr. Seward says also that the British Government may expect the best disposition on the part of the Federal Government.
The next despatch is from Earl Russell to Lord Lyons, stating the outrage on the British flag, and hoping that the act was committed without instructions from the Federal Government, as that Government must be aware that Great Britain cannot allow such an affront to pass without reparation. Earl Russell expresses a hope that the Federal Government will offer suitable redress by giving up the four prisoners to Lord Lyons. Mr. Seward, who was furnished with a copy of Earl Russell's despatch, replied that the English Government rightly conjectured that the act was without the authority or knowledge of the Federal Government. He trusts that England will see that the Federal Government neither practised nor approved any deliberate wrong in the transaction, and declares that Great Britain has a right to demand the same reparation as the United States would expect from any friendly nation in a similar case. Mr. Seward says he is aware that he argues on the British side of the case, but in doing so he is only defending American principles. He quotes the instructions from Mr. Madison, Secretary of State in 1804, to Mr. Monroe, Minister to England, and says:-
"If I decide this case in favour of my own Government I must disallow its most cherished principles, and for ever abandon its most cherished policy; but the country cannot afford such a sacrifice. The Government cannot deny the justice of England's claim."
Mr. Seward, in conclusion, states that the four prisoners are at the disposal of Lord Lyons, and asks his Lordship to indicate a time and place for receiving them.
Lord Lyons, in his reply, says he will forward Mr. Seward's communication to the British Government, and will confer personally with him in regard to the reception of the four gentlemen.
The note from M. Thouvenel to the French Minister on the Trent affair is included in the correspondence.
Sa 11 January 1862No official notice has yet been given at Portsmouth respecting any discharge of hired mechanics or labourers, consequent on our renewed peaceful relations with America. It is, however, understood, both by the officials and the men themselves, and is further confirmed by an Admiralty order received yesterday morning, that the services of these men will not be required, in the present phase of affairs, beyond April next. It is to be hoped, however, that the authorities will not be too hasty in discharging a body of valuable men who have entered the public service at a period of emergency, and whose homes lie at some considerable distance from the place of their engagement. There is plenty of important work remaining to be done in Portsmouth yard, and there can be no reason why the wholesale discharge of men at the end of last year should be now repeated.
Ma 13 January 1862


The whole episode of the capture of the Trent lies now before us, and we may not unprofitably review the main features of this very remarkable transaction. We need not trouble ourselves with the law, for, although the violence of the proceeding led us to suppose that it could not be wholly unauthorized by some distant precedent, the result has been that our right has been conceded in as full and ample a manner as it was possible for us to desire. But the causes which led to the seizure and which have protracted the inquiry into its validity up to the present moment are well worth investigation. How came it, then, that Commodore Wilkes should, at a moment when his country was overwhelmed with the solicitudes and difficulties of a Civil War more than sufficient to occupy all its energies, venture upon an enterprise the direct effect of which would necessarily be to multiply those difficulties by creating a conflict with a Power many times more formidable than that with which America was already engaged? The answer is very plain. The Commodore knew little and cared less for the Law of Nations, of which he had just enough learning to enable him thoroughly to misquote it. But he knew very well something much better than the Law of Nations, and that was the humour of his countrymen. He thought it possible he might be disavowed or even cashiered, but he also knew that he would become a hero. In some countries heroism cannot be attained without a very severe sacrifice of personal convenience and some danger of personal injury. But the United States are content to set one kind of courage against another, and, provided a man is bold enough to despise the laws of civilized life, will not insist on the painful condition that he should incur danger to life or limb. Commodore Wilkes speculated on this well-known tendency of the popular mind, and he speculated justly. Had he led a forlorn hope, or headed the charge which decided the fate of a pitched battle, he could not have received a more brilliant or flattering reception. True, his act had no valour in it, for it was performed against an unarmed enemy; it had no wisdom, for it was fraught with the most disastrous consequences; but it was lawless and defiant, and as such dear to the feelings of the nation that he served. It has ever, been the nature of Democracy rather to find the law in its own will than to subordinate that will to the law, and had not this feeling been notorious the outrage on the Trent would never have been committed.

The next step in the affair was that the persons so seized were accepted by the American Government and consigned to a prison, where they were treated, as we are informed, with the greatest rigour and harshness. Any other Government but that of America would have considered that the receiving of prisoners under these circumstances amounted to a distinct undertaking on their part to identify themselves with Commodore Wilkes, and to adopt his act as their own. It is so with the affairs of common life. The man who takes the profit of a transaction is not allowed to blow hot and cold -to assert that he never authorized what has been done. If the American Government were willing to accept the present offered them by Commodore Wilkes, they should also have been willing to take upon themselves whatever risk was implied by that acceptance. If he was wrong, they should not have received the men from him; if he was right, they should not have disavowed him. But here, again, we have another specimen of the propensities of a Government that relies on mere popularity. It lives on the breath of the moment, and cannot afford to do what the people would approve to-morrow because the people would disapprove it to-day. As soon as it was known that Slidell and Mason were captured one cry of delight resounded from one end of the Northern States to the other. The ringleaders in so many intrigues, the arch-originators of so many conspiracies, were now in their power, and ill betide those who would abstract them from their vengeance. The felon's cell, the traitor's death, were too good for them, and, as for restoring them to England, the thought was black with dishonour and foul with retreat. No matter how they were taken; the law was on the side of the Union, or, if it were not, England dare not assert her rights. Had not the Northern States six hundred thousand men under arms? Was not Canada within two or three days' railroad from the Federal Camp, and could they not spare a sufficient force for the invasion? Would they not build fleets to launch on the Lakes and cover the ocean with innumerable privateers, bearing wealth to those who equipped them and destruction to British commerce? England dare not, could not, must not, would not, ask for reparation for the injury. She might be starved for want of corn, revolutionized by the invasion of Ireland, or disposed of in any one of half-a-dozen ways of attack. But if she should demand reparation she would be only too happy to protract the case into endless negotiation. She knew too well that France would be certain to take part against her, that there was a strong American party in England, and a still stronger one in Ireland, and that in seeking a contest with America she only sought her own destruction. Next came the information that reparation had actually been demanded; and, just as the newspapers had succeeded in proving to their own entire satisfaction that England could by no possibility adhere to the demand for the giving up of the men, the men, after seven weeks' captivity, were given up, and America was left to put the best construction she could on so many confident assertions so signally falsified, on so many valiant resolutions so precipitately abandoned.

When all these things are considered, there can be no more interesting study than Mr. Seward's Despatch. There has been an "inadvertency by a naval officer." That is all. The Government of the United States is in no way implicated in it, although at the time of writing the Despatch the prisoners had been seven weeks in its custody. "If I decide this case in favour of my own Government, I must disallow its most cherished principles, and reverse and for ever abandon its essential policy." Such declarations are, to be sure, inconsistent with the course of action which was adopted up to the time of the peremptory demand by England. But, at any rate, they have, one would think, the advantage that they hold out to us a better prospect for the future. This hope, however, is immediately dashed to the ground, for we are told in the same breath that the claim is just, but that if the safety of the Union required the detention of the captured prisoners it would be the right and duty of the Government to detain them; - that is, it would be the right and duty of the Government to do towards a foreign State that which they themselves considered to be unjust. We have, then, fair notice that all who deal with the United States must guide themselves, not by the Law of Nations, but by what the United States may consider expedient at the time; and this, of course, depends upon their ability to resist. Thus, it was expedient to put these Commissioners in prison on November 10 and it was expedient to release them, when it was found that war would be the consequence of detaining them, on December 27. Mr. Seward, however, concludes by saying that the prisoners are given up, not because England demands them peremptorily, but because they are not worth keeping; because "the effectual check and waning proportions of the existing insurrection, as well as the comparative unimportance of the captured persons themselves, when dispassionately weighed," &c.; and this pretext is put forth by a Government which denounced these men to Congress as leading conspirators, which gave its official thanks to Captain Wilkes on account of the importance of the capture, and took seven weeks to discover that its prisoners were "comparatively unimportant!"

We doubt if any nation ever committed blunders so palpable and so enormous. If they had disavowed the seizure and given up the men at once, the American Government would have done much towards placing its flag under the protection of right and justice. But they kept the men till they had done for the South services far greater than they could possibly have performed had they been left at liberty. The men, who in all probability would not have been able to effect anything by their advocacy with the Governments of England and France, became, when placed in prison, the most persuasive of missionaries, and made converts to Southern principles by mixing them up with the doctrines recognized by all nations. Messrs. Slidell and Mason could not, had they succeeded to the utmost of their desire, have effected more than they did from their dungeon. And all these misfortunes and disgraces have occurred simply because the American Government is not able to rule of itself, but must seek its direction, not from the wise and prudent, but from the ignorant and violent. It was not able either to persist with dignity or to yield with courtesy, and it has therefore brought upon itself all the discredit without the reward of lawlessness, and all the humiliation without the grace of submission.
Ma 13 January 1862

Reuter's express.

Southampton, Jan. 12.

The Hamburg and American Company's steamer Teutonia, from New York at 10 a.m. on the 29th of December, arrived off Cowes last night. She brings 37 passengers and $237,925 in specie, of which. $152,000 are for England, and the remainder for Havre.

The Teutonia spoke the following ships: -
On the 30th of December the Borussia, 280 miles east of Sandy Hook, and on the 3d of January a large screw steamer, bound west, in lat. 47 N., long. 51. W.

The following is the full test of the diplomatic correspondence between the British and Federal Governments on the Trent affair:-

"Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
"No. 186. (Extract.)
"Department of State, Washington, Nov. 30,1861.
"Sir, - Your confidential note of the 15th of November, not marked as a despatch, has been submitted to the President, and I hasten to reply to it in time for the Wednesday's mail.
"No Minister ever spoke or acted more wisely in a crisis which excited deep public solicitude than you did on the Occasion of the Lord Mayor's dinner. "We are impressed very favourably by Lord Palmerston's conversation with you. You spoke the simple fact when you told him that the life of this insurrection is sustained by its hopes of recognition in Great Britain and France. It would perish in 90 days if those hopes should cease. I have never for a moment believed that such a recognition could take place without producing immediately a war between the United States and all the recognizing Powers.
"I have not supposed it possible that the British Government could fail to see this, and at the same time I have sincerely believed the British Government must, in its inmost heart, be as averse to such a war as I know this Government is.
"I am sure that this Government has carefully avoided giving any cause of offence or irritation to Great Britain. But it has seemed to me that the British Government has been inattentive to the currents that seemed to be bringing the two countries into collision...
"I infer from Lord Palmerston's remarks that the British Government is now awake to the importance of averting possible conflict, and disposed to confer, and act with earnestness to that end. If so, we are disposed to meet them in the same spirit, as a nation chiefly of British lineage, sentiments, and sympathies, a civilized and humane nation, a Christian people.
"Since that conversation was held Captain Wilkes, in the steamer San Jacinto, has boarded a British colonial steamer, and taken from her deck two insurgents who were proceeding to Europe on an errand of treason against their own country. This is a new incident, unknown to and unforeseen, at least in its circumstances, by Lord Palmerston. It is to be met and disposed of by the two Governments, if possible, in the spirit to which I have adverted.
"Lord Lyons has prudently refrained from opening the subject to me, as I presume, waiting instructions from home. We have done nothing on the subject to anticipate the discussion, and we have not furnished you with any explanations. We adhere to that course now, because we think it more prudent that the ground taken by the British Government should be first made known to us here, and that the discussion, if there must be one, shall be had here.
"It is proper, however, that you should know one fact in the case, without indicating that we attach importance to it - namely, that in the capture of Messrs. Mason and Slidell on board a British vessel, Captain Wilkes having acted without any instructions from the Government, the subject is therefore free from the embarrassment which might have resulted if the act had been specially directed by us.
"I trust that the British Government will consider the subject in a friendly temper, and it may expect the best dispositions on the part of this Government.
"Although this is a confidential note, I shall not object to your reading it to Earl Russell and Lord Palmerston, if you deem it expedient.
"I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
"WILLIAM H. SEWARD. "Charles Francis Adams, Esq., &c."

"Earl Russell to Lord Lyons - The Demand of the British Government.
"Foreign-office, Nov. 30, 1861. "My Lord, - Intelligence of a very grave nature has reached Her Majesty's Government.
"This intelligence was conveyed officially to the knowledge of the Admiralty by Commander Williams, agent for mails on board the contract steamer Trent.
"It appears from the letter of Commander Williams, dated 'Royal Mail contract packet Trent, at sea, November 9,' that the Trent left Havannah on the 7th inst. with Her Majesty's mail for England, having on board numerous passengers. Commander Williams states that shortly after noon on the 8th a steamer having the appearance of a man-of-war, but not showing colours, was observed ahead. On nearing her, at a quarter past 1 p.m., she fired a round shot from her pivot gun across the Trent and showed American colours. While the Trent was approaching her slowly the American vessel discharged a shell across the bows of the Trent, exploding half a cable's length ahead of her. The Trent then stopped, and an officer with a large armed guard of marines boarded her. The officer demanded a list of the passengers, and, compliance with this demand being refused, the officer said he had orders to arrest Messrs. Mason, Slidell, M'Farland, and Eustis, and that he had sure information of their being passengers in the Trent. While some parley was going on upon this matter Mr. Slidell stepped forward and told the American officer that the four persons he had named were then standing before him.
"The commander of the Trent and Commander Williams protested against the act of taking by force out of the Trent these four passengers, then under the protection of the British flag. But the San Jacinto was at that time only 200 yards from the Trent, her ship's company at quarters, her ports open, and tompions out. Resistance was therefore out of the question, and the four gentlemen before named were forcibly taken out of the ship. A further demand was made that the Commander of the Trent should proceed on board the San Jacinto, but he said he would not go unless forcibly compelled likewise, and this demand was not insisted upon.
"It thus appears that certain individuals have been forcibly taken from on board a British vessel, the ship of a neutral Power, while such vessel was pursuing a lawful and innocent voyage - an act of violence which was an affront to the British flag and a violation of international law.
"Her Majesty's Government, having in mind the friendly relations which have long subsisted between Great Britain and the United States, are willing to believe that the United States' naval officer who committed this aggression was not acting in compliance with any authority from his Government, or that, if he conceived himself to be so authorised, he greatly misunderstood the instructions which he had received.
"For the Government of the United States must be fully aware that the British Government could not allow such an affront to the national honour to pass without full reparation, and Her Majesty's Government are unwilling to believe that it could be the deliberate intention of the Government of the United States unnecessarily to force into discussion between the two Governments a question of so grave a character, and with regard to which the whole British nation would be sure to entertain such unanimity of feeling.
"Her Majesty's Government, therefore, trust that when the matter shall have been brought under the consideration of the Government of the United States that Government will, of its own accord, offer to the British Government such redress as alone could satisfy the British nation - namely,
"The liberation of the four gentlemen and their delivery to your Lordship, in order that they may again be placed under British protection, and a suitable apology for the aggression which has been committed.
"Should these terms not be offered by Mr. Seward, you will propose them to him.
"You are at liberty to read this despatch to the Secretary of State, and, if he shall desire it, you will give him a copy of it.
"I am, &c.,
"To the Lord Lyons, K.C.B., &c."

"Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons.
"Department of State, Washington, Dec. 26, 1861.
"My Lord, - Earl Russell's despatch of the 30th of November, a copy of which you have left with me at my request, is of the following effect - namely: - That a letter of Commander Williams, dated Royal mail contract boat Trent, at sea, November 9, states that that vessel left Havannah on the 7th of November with Her Majesty's mails for England, having on board numerous passengers.
"Shortly after noon, on the 8th of November, the United States' war steamer San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes, not showing colours, was observed ahead. That steamer, on being neared by the Trent, at 1 15 in the afternoon, fired a round shot from a pivot gun across her bows and showed American colours. While the Trent was approaching slowly towards the San Jacinto, she discharged a shell across the Trent's bows, which exploded at half a cable's length before her. The Trent then stopped, and an officer with a large armed guard of Marines boarded her.
"The officer said he had orders to arrest Messrs. Mason, Slidell, M'Farland, and Eustis, and had sure information that they were passengers in the Trent. While some parley was going on upon this matter, Mr. Slidell stepped forward and said to the American officer that the four persons he had named were standing before him. The commander of the Trent and Commander Williams protested against the act of taking these four passengers out of the Trent, they then being under the protection of the British flag. But the San Jacinto was at this time only 200 yards distant, her ship's company at quarters, her ports open and tompions out, and so resistance was out of the question.
"The four persons before-named were then forcibly taken out of the ship. A farther demand was made that the commander of the Trent should proceed on board the San Jacinto, but he said he would not go unless forcibly compelled likewise, and this demand was not insisted upon. Upon this statement Earl Russell remarks that it thus appears that certain individuals have been forcibly taken from on board a British vessel, the ship of a neutral Power, while that vessel was pursuing a lawful and innocent voyage - an act of violence which was an affront to the British flag, and a violation of international law.
"Earl Russell next says that Her Majesty's Government, bearing in mind the friendly relations which have long subsisted between Great Britain and the United States, are willing to believe that the naval officer who committed this aggression was not acting in compliance with any authority from his Government, or that if he conceived himself to be so authorized he greatly misunderstood the instructions which he received.
"Earl Russell argues that the United States must be fully aware that the British Government could not allow such an affront on the national honour to pass without full reparation, and they are willing to believe that it could not be the deliberate intention of the Government of the United States unnecessarily to force into discussion between the two Governments a question of so grave a character, and with regard to which the whole British nation would be sure to entertain such unanimity of feeling.
"Earl Russell, resting upon the statement and the argument which I have thus recited, closes with saying that Her Majesty's Government trust that when this matter shall have been brought under the consideration of the Government of the United States it will, of its own accord, offer to the British Government such redress as alone could satisfy the British nation - namely, the liberation of the four prisoners taken from the Trent, and their delivery to your Lordship, in order that they again be placed under British protection, and a suitable apology for the aggression which has been committed. Earl Russell finally instructs you to propose these terms to me, if I should not first offer them on the part of this Government.
"The despatch has been submitted to the President. "The British Government has rightly conjectured, what it is my duty to state, that Captain Wilkes, in conceiving and executing the proceeding in question, acted upon his own suggestions of duty, without any direction, or instruction, or even foreknowledge of it, on the part of this Government. No directions had been given to him, or any other naval officer, to arrest the four persons named, or any of them, on the Trent, or any other British vessel, at the place where it occurred or elsewhere.
"The British Government will justly infer from these facts that the United States not only have had no purpose, but even no thought, of forcing into discussion the question which has arisen, or any other which could affect in any way the sensibilities of the British nation.
"It is true that a round shot was fired by the San Jacinto from her pivot gun when the Trent was approaching; but as the facts have been reported to this Government, the shot was, nevertheless, intentionally fired in a direction so obviously divergent from the course of the Trent as to be quite as harmless as a blank shot, while it should be regarded as a signal. So also we learn that the Trent was not approaching the San Jacinto slowly when the shell was fired across her bows, but, on the contrary, the Trent was, or seemed to be, moving under a full head of steam, as if with a purpose to pass the San Jacinto.
"We are informed also that the boarding officer (Lieutenant Fairfax) did not board the Trent with a large armed guard, but he left his Marines in his boat when he entered the Trent. He stated his instructions from Captain Wilkes to search for the four persons named, in a respectful and courteous, though decided manner, and he asked the captain, of the Trent to show his passenger list, which was refused. The Lieutenant, as we are informed, did not employ absolute force in transferring the passengers, but he used just so much as was necessary to satisfy the parties concerned that refusal or resistance would be unavailing.
"So, also, we are informed, that the captain of the Trent was not at any time, or in any way, required to go on board the San Jacinto.
"These modifications of the case, as presented by Commander Williams, are based upon our official reports.
"I have now to remind your Lordship of some facts which doubtlessly were omitted by Earl Russell with the very proper and becoming motive of allowing them to be brought into the case on the part of the United States in the way most satisfactory to this Government.
"These facts are that at the time the transaction occurred an insurrection was existing in the United States, which this Government was engaged in suppressing by the employment of land and naval forces; that in regard to this domestic strife the United States considered Great Britain as a friendly Power, while she has assumed for herself the attitude of a neutral; and that Spain was considered in the same light, and had assumed the same attitude as Great Britain.
"It has been settled by correspondence that the United States and Great Britain mutually recognized as applicable to this local strife these two articles of the declaration made by the Congress of Paris in 1858 - namely, that the neutral or friendly flag should cover enemy's goods not contraband of war, and that neutral goods, not contraband of war, are not liable to capture under an enemy's flag.
"These exceptions of contraband from favour were a negative acceptance by the parties of the rule hitherto everywhere recognized as a part of the law of nations, that whatever is contraband is liable to capture and confiscation in all cases.
"James M. Mason and - M'Farland are citizens of the United States and residents of Virginia.
"John Slidell and George Eustis are citizens of the United States and residents of Louisiana.
"It was well known at Havannah, when these parties embarked on the Trent, that James M. Mason was proceeding to England in the affected character of a Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. Jame's, under a pretended commission from Jefferson Davis, who had assumed to be President of the insurrectionary party in the United States; and M'Farland was going with him in a like unreal character of Secretary of Legation to the pretended mission.
"John Slidell, in similar circumstances, was going to Paris as a pretended Minister to the Emperor of the French, and George Eustis was the chosen Secretary of Legation for that stimulated mission.
"The fact that these persons had assumed such characters has been since avowed by the same Jefferson Davis in a pretended message to an unlawful and insurrectionary Congress. It was, as we think, rightly presumed that these Ministers bore pretended credentials and instructions, and such papers are, in the law, known as despatches. We are informed by our Consul at Paris that those despatches, having escaped the search of the Trent, were actually conveyed and delivered to emissaries of the insurrection in England.
"Although it is not essential, yet it is proper to state, as I do also upon information and belief, that the owner and agent, and all the officers of the Trent, including the commander Williams, had knowledge of the assumed characters and purposes of the persons before named when they embarked on that vessel.
"Your Lordship will now perceive that the case before us, instead of presenting a merely flagrant act of violence on the part of Captain Wilkes, as might well be inferred from the incomplete statement of it that went up to the British Government, was undertaken as a simple, legal, customary, and belligerent proceeding by Captain Wilkes to arrest and capture a neutral vessel engaged in carrying contraband of war for the use and benefit of the insurgents.
"The question before us is whether this proceeding was authorized by and conducted according to the law of nations.
"It involves the following inquiries:-"1st. Were the persons named and their supposed despatches contraband of war?
"2d. Might Captain Wilkes lawfully stop and search the Trent for these contraband persons and despatches?
"3d. Did he exercise that right in a lawful and proper manner?
"4th. Having found the contraband persons on board and in presumed possession of the contraband despatches, had he a right to capture the persons?
"5th. Did he exercise that right of capture in the manner allowed and recognized by the law of nations?
"If all these inquiries shall be resolved in the affirmative, the British Government will have no claim for reparation,
"I address myself to the first inquiry, namely:-
"Were the four persons mentioned and their supposed despatches contraband?
"Maritime law so generally deals, as its professors say, in rem, that is, with property, and so seldom with persons, that it seems a straining of the term contraband to apply it to them. But persons as well as property may become contraband, since the word means broadly 'contrary to proclamation, prohibited, illegal, unlawful.' All writers and judges pronounce naval or military persons in the service of the enemy contraband.
"Vattel says, 'War allows us to cut off from an enemy all his resources and to hinder him from sending Ministers to solicit assistance.' And Sir William Scott says, 'You may stop the ambassador of your enemy on his passage.' Despatches are not less clearly contraband, and the bearers or couriers who undertake to carry them fall under the same condemnation.
"A subtlety might be raised, whether pretended Ministers of an usurping Power, not recognized as legal by either the belligerent or the neutral, could be held to be contraband. But it would disappear on being subjected to what is the true test in all cases, - namely, the spirit of the law. Sir William Scott, speaking of civil magistrates who were arrested and detained as contraband, says, -
"'It appears to me, on principle, to be but reasonable that when it is of sufficient importance to the enemy that such persons should be sent out on the public service, at the public expense, it should afford equal ground of forfeiture against the vessel that may be let out for a purpose so intimately connected with the hostile operations.'
"I trust that I have shown that the four persons who | were taken from the Trent by Captain Wilkes, and their despatches, were contraband of war.
"The second inquiry is, whether Captain Wilkes had a right by the law of nations to detain and search the Trent.
"The Trent, though she carried mails, was a contract or merchant vessel, a common carrier; for here maritime law knows only three classes of vessels - vessels of war, revenue vessels, and merchant vessels. The Trent falls within the latter class. Whatever disputes have existed concerning a right of visitation or search in time of peace, none, it is supposed, has existed in modern times about the rights of a belligerent in time of war to capture contraband in neutral and even friendly merchant vessels, and of the right of visitation and search, in order to determine whether they are neutral and are documented as such according to the law of nations.
"I assume in the present case what, as I read in the British authorities, is regarded by Great Britain herself as true maritime law, that the circumstance that the Trent was proceeding from a neutral port to another neutral port does not modify the rights of the belligerent Power.
"The third question is whether Captain Wilkes exercised the right of search in a lawful and proper manner. If any doubt hung over this point, as the case was presented in the statement of it adopted by the British Government, I think it must have already passed away before the modifications of that statement which I have already submitted.
"I proceed to the fourth inquiry - namely, having found the suspected contraband of war on board the Trent, had Captain Wilkes a right to capture the same? Such a capture is the chief, if not the only recognized object of the permitted visitation and search. The principle of the law is that the belligerent exposed to danger may prevent the contraband persons or things from applying themselves or being applied to the hostile uses or purposes designed. The law is so very liberal in this respect that when contraband is found on board a neutral vessel, not only is the contraband forfeited, but the vessel which is the vehicle of its passage or transportation, being tainted, also becomes contraband, and is subjected to capture and confiscation.
"Only the fifth question remains - namely, Did Captain Wilkes exercise the right of capturing the contraband in conformity with the laws of nations? It is just here that the difficulties of the case begin. What is the manner which the law of nations prescribes for disposing of the contraband when you have found and seized it on board of the neutral vessel?
"The answer would be easily found if the question were, What shall you do with the contraband vessel? You must take or send her into a convenient port and subject her to a judicial prosecution there in admiralty, which will try and decide the questions of belligerency, neutrality, contraband, and capture. So, again, you will promptly find the same answer if the question were, What is the manner of proceeding prescribed by the law of nations in regard to the contraband if it be property or things of material or pecuniary value?
"But the question here concerns the mode of procedure in regard not to the vessel that was carrying the contraband, nor yet to the contraband things which worked the forfeiture of the vessel, but to contraband persons.
"The books of law are dumb; yet the question is as important as it is difficult. First, the belligerent captor has a right to prevent the contraband officer, soldier, sailor, minister, messenger, or carrier from proceeding on his unlawful voyage and reaching the destined scene of his injurious service. But, on the other hand, the person captured may be innocent - that is, he may not be contraband.
"He therefore has a right to a fair trial of the accusation against him. The neutral State that has taken him under its flag is bound to protect him if he is not contraband, and is therefore entitled to be satisfied upon that important question. The faith of that State is pledged to his safety if innocent, as its justice is pledged to his surrender if he is really contraband.
"Here are conflicting claims, involving personal liberty, life, honour, and duty. Here are conflicting national claims, involving welfare, safety, honour, and empire. They require a tribunal and a trial. The captors and the captured are equals; the neutrals and the belligerent State are equals.
"While the law authorities were found silent it was suggested at an early day by this Government that you should take the captured persons into a convenient port and institute judicial proceedings there to try the controversy. But only Courts of Admiralty have jurisdiction in maritime cases, and these Courts have formulas to try only claims to contraband chattels, but none to try claims concerning contraband persons. The Courts can entertain no proceedings and render no judgment in favour or against the alleged contraband men.
"It was replied, all this is true; but you can reach in these courts a decision which will have the moral weight of a judicial one, by a circuitous proceeding. Convey the suspected men together with the suspected vessel, into port, and try there the question whether the vessel is contraband. You can prove it to be so by proving the suspected men to be contraband, and the Court must then determine the vessel to be contraband.
"If the men are not contraband the vessel will escape condemnation. Still is there no judgment for or against the captured persons. But it was assumed that there would result from the determination of the Court concerning the vessel a legal certainty concerning the character of the men. This course of proceeding seemed open to many objections. It elevates the incidental inferior private interests into the proper place of the main paramount public one, and possibly it may make the fortunes, the safety, or the existence of a nation depend on the accident of a merely personal and pecuniary litigation.
"Moreover, when the judgment of the Prize Court upon the lawfulness of the capture of the vessels is rendered it really concludes nothing, and binds neither the belligerent State nor the neutral upon the great question of the disposition to be made of the captured contraband persons. That question is still to be really determined, if at all, by diplomatic arrangement or by war.
"One may well express his surprise when told that the law of nations has furnished no more reasonable, practical, and perfect mode than this of determining questions of such grave import between Sovereign Powers. The regret we may feel on the occasion is, nevertheless, modified by the reflection that the difficulty is not altogether anomalous.
"Similar and equal deficiencies are found in every system of municipal law, especially in the system which exists in the greater portions of Great Britain and the United States. The title to personal property can hardly ever be resolved by a Court without resorting to the fiction that the claimant has lost and the possessor has found it; and the title of real estate is disputed by real litigants under the names of imaginary persons.
"It must be confessed, however, that while all aggrieved nations demand and all impartial ones concede the need of some form of judicial process in determining the characters of contraband persons, no form but the illogical and circuitous one thus described exists, nor has any other yet been suggested. Practically, therefore, the choice is between that judicial remedy or no judicial remedy whatever.
"If there be no judicial remedy, the result is that the question must be determined by the captor himself on the deck of the prize vessel. Very grave objections are against such a course. The captor is armed, the neutral is unarmed. The captor is interested, prejudiced, and perhaps violent; the neutral, if truly neutral, is disinterested, subdued, and helpless.
"The tribunal is irresponsible, while its judgment is carried into instant execution. The captured party is compelled to submit, though bound by no legal, moral, or treaty obligation to acquiesce. Reparation is distant and problematical, and depends at last on the justice, magnanimity, or weakness of the State in whose behalf and by whose authority capture was made.
"Out of these disputes, reprisals and wars necessarily arise, and these are so frequent and destructive that it may well be doubted whether this form of remedy is not a greater social evil than all that could follow if the belligerent right of search were universally renounced and abolished for ever. But carry the case one step further.
"What if the State that has made the capture unreasonably refuses to hear the complaint of the neutral or to redress it? In that case the very act of capture would be an act of war, of war begun without notice, and possibly entirely without provocation.
"I think all unprejudiced minds will agree that, imperfect as the existing judicial remedy may be supposed to be, it would be, as a general practice, better to follow it than to adopt the summary one of leaving the decision with the captor, and relying upon diplomatic debates to review his decision. Practically it is a question of choice between law, with its imperfections and delays, and war, with its evils and desolations.
"Nor is it ever to be forgotten that neutrality, honestly and justly preserved, is always the harbinger of peace, and is, therefore, the common interest of nations, which is only saying that it is the interest of humanity itself.
"At the same time it is not to be denied that it may sometimes happen that the judicial remedy will become impossible - as by the shipwreck of the prize vessel, or other circumstances, which excuse the captor from sending or taking her into port for confiscation. In such a case the right of the captor to the custody of the captured persons, and to dispose of them, if they are really contraband, so as to defeat their unlawful purposes, cannot reasonably be denied.
"What rule shall be applied in such a case? Clearly the captor ought to be required to show that the failure of the judicial remedy results from circumstances beyond his control and without his fault. Otherwise he would be allowed to derive advantage from a wrongful act of his own.
"In the present case, Captain Wilkes, after capturing the contraband persons and making prize of the Trent in what seems to us a perfectly lawful manner, instead of sending her into port, released her from the capture, and permitted her to proceed with her whole cargo upon her voyage.
"He thus effectually prevented the judicial examination which might otherwise have occurred. If now the capture of the contraband persons and the capture of the contraband vessel are to be regarded, not as two separable or distinct transactions under the law of nations, but as one transaction, one capture only, then it follows that the capture in this case was left unfinished or was abandoned.
"Whether the United States have a right to retain the chief public benefits of it - namely, the custody of the captured persons, on proving them to be contraband, will depend upon the preliminary question whether the leaving of the transaction unfinished was necessary, or whether it was unnecessary, and, therefore, voluntary. If it was necessary, Great Britain, as we suppose, must of course waive the defect, and the consequent failure of the judicial remedy.
"On the other hand, it is not seen how the United States can insist upon her waiver of that judicial remedy, if the defect of the capture resulted from an act of Captain Wilkes

Tu 14 January 1862When the Duke of Wellington was asked whether he was not surprised before Waterloo, he is said to have replied, "No; but I am now." The same language would fitly express the difference between our position at the time when the outrage was committed on the Trent and that in which we find ourselves after perusing Mr. Seward's despatch. The former cannot be said to have taken us by surprise at all. "We could not, indeed, have foreseen it, yet we were tolerably prepared for it, for we knew how little a mere breach of international law would trouble the conscience of a patriotic American captain, and the Democratic organs of the North had so often assured us of their desire to pick a quarrel with us that we had almost come to believe them. It was far more astonishing that, after Congress and the Secretary to the Navy had expressed their approbation of Captain Wilkes, and the mob had pronounced in his favour, Mr. Lincoln's Government should have felt itself strong enough to avoid a war with England by a timely concession. But the document in which this concession is conveyed and justified is the crowning marvel of the story. Its length is portentous, its verbiage indescribable, and the assurance and confidence in our ignorance which it exhibits are indeed what the New York Herald calls them, - "masterly." Professing to be exhaustive, it leaves untouched three-fourths of the whole field of argument already familiar to the readers of this journal. Professing to be logical, it quietly "assumes" the most material of all the points to be proved - viz., "that the circumstance that the Trent was proceeding from a neutral port to another neutral port does not modify the rights of the belligerent Power." Professing to deal with a practical issue, it discusses at prodigious length a number of hypothetical cases, confessedly doubtful in themselves, and in no respect analogous to that of the Trent. It abounds in such platitudes as that "War is a terrible social evil," that "neutrality is the harbinger of peace," and that "human actions generally proceed upon mingled and sometimes conflicting motives." Calling itself "a very simple and natural statement of the facts, and analysis of the law applicable to them," it is, in reality, a vast and irrelevant preamble, ending with a dogmatic quotation from Madison, enunciating a principle amply broad enough to cover the whole case, and to render nugatory the tedious array of facts and arguments by which it is ushered in.

It is the less necessary to examine in detail the five queries into which Mr. Seward resolves the whole problem, because the preceding paragraphs sufficiently reveal the confusion existing in the mind of the Secretary of State between the rights of a belligerent Power and the rights of a Power engaged in suppressing a domestic revolt. He studiously characterizes the Civil War in America as an "insurrection" and a "local strife;" the emissaries of the Southern States are "citizens of the United States," and were proceeding on a "pretended mission" in the "affected character" of Ministers Plenipotentiary. If this be granted, then the United States are not at war at all, and are consequently not entitled to the rights of a belligerent Power, among which - and among these only - is to be found the right of visitation and search. Notwithstanding this little hitch in the argument, Mr. Seward proceeds with sublime self-complacency to apply to the question before him all the doctrines which belong to a state of war between two independent Powers. He even goes further than this, for he claims, while he ostentatiously waives, the right of treating natives of the South on board neutral ships in the very way in which Great Britain, in the pride of her naval supremacy, treated the deserters from her own men-of-war. The full enormity of this pretension can only be estimated when the inconsistency of the two presumptions on which it rests is appreciated. For the purpose of acquiring the right to board a neutral ship Mr. Seward consents to treat the Southerners as belligerents, for otherwise the North would have no enemy; for the purpose of justifying the seizure of Messrs. Mason and Slidell he deals with them as traitorous subjects of the United States. Both these incompatible theories of their character underlie this despatch, and the one or the other is allowed the greater prominence as it may serve the occasion. Upon the whole, however, Mr. Seward inclines to the former, and he has the best reasons for doing so, for how else could he avail himself of the liberal rules of International Law in respect of contraband of war? The right of seizing this is, at least, a purely belligerent privilege, and can only belong to a nation engaged in bonâ fide hostilities. Were Messrs. Mason and Slidell, then, contraband of war, as Mr. Seward "trusts" that he has shown? After all that has been said on this subject, our readers will hardly believe that his two chief authorities are the well-known dictum of Lord Stowwell, that "you may stop the ambassador of your enemy on his passage," which has been proved to sanction no violation of neutral jurisdiction, and another opinion of the same Judge to the effect that a vessel "let out" for the purpose of carrying persons in the service of an enemy, which the Trent was not, may be forfeited. Considering that by the time this despatch was written the fallacy of these two last positions had been clearly demonstrated in this country, and must have been known to Mr. Seward, we cannot think that the recurrence to them, without explanation or qualification, shows much candour on his part.

After this, our readers may be curious to know what is the precise ground upon which Mr. Seward has advised the President to restore the prisoners. It is not that he has any doubt that they were "contraband," or that Captain Wilkes might lawfully stop and search the Trent, or that he exercised that right in a proper manner, or that the persons in possession of the despatches were equally liable to seizure with the despatches themselves. It might, perhaps, strike some people that, as despatches reveal valuable information, whereas their bearers, unless subjected to torture, cannot be made to divulge what they may know, one good reason for making the former seizable has no application to the latter. But this does not occur to Mr. Seward; indeed, he hurries impatiently over his first four questions that he may concentrate himself on the last - "Did he exercise that right of capture in the manner allowed and recognized by the Law of Nations?" It is evidently upon his answer to this that Mr. Seward stakes his case. It is verbose and laboured in the highest degree, and well it may be, for the conclusion to which it leads up cannot be stated or read with a grave face. It is neither more nor less than this, - that Captain Wilkes, having the unquestionable right to carry the Trent and all on board into an American port, where she would certainly have been condemned, did nevertheless, "from combined sentiments of prudence and generosity," leave his capture unfinished, and make a present of the Trent to Great Britain, and that, since "it is of the very nature of a gift or a charity that the giver cannot, after the exercise of his benevolence is past, recall or modify its benefits," the United States' Government cannot, in honour, retain a part of those spoils, the whole of which, however, belonged to her of right.

It would be well for Mr. Seward's reputation as a diplomatist if this despatch had never been published in extenso. The telegraphic summary had already given the only part of it that would stand criticism for a moment. There was some plausibility in the boast that in surrendering the prisoners America was carrying out her own cherished principles against her own interests, until we examined the frivolous, and worse than frivolous, reasons by which this assertion was bolstered up. We say worse than frivolous, for we will not conceal our conviction that the injustice of his cause was present to the mind of the writer throughout the composition of this pitiful State paper, and that all the finedrawn distinctions between contraband "things" and "contraband" persons were intended to disguise from the American people the fact that submission was inevitable. Mr. Seward cannot be ignorant that, so far from adhering to the American and Continental limitations of belligerent rights, the greater part of his despatch is based on the old English theory which recognized no other restriction than the interests of the belligerent. He cannot suppose that this will escape the penetration of Lord Russell or the Law Officers of the British Crown, but he probably calculates, with justice, that it will impose on the mass of his countrymen. It is to them that he is really speaking when he nominally addresses Lord Lyons, and we fear that it is their applause which he courts by the insolent declaration that the Envoys could not have been surrendered had State policy required that they should be retained. We will not so libel the nation which he represents as to accept this as a fair specimen of their political morality. We will rather, hope that when the history of the present war comes to be written in calmer times the error of delaying redress till it was peremptorily demanded, and then inventing fictitious reasons for granting it, will be admitted without reserve.
Tu 14 January 1862Increased exertions are still continued at Woolwich to supply munitions of war to the British possessions in North America. The screw steam storeship Spartan, Capt. Wiggins, at the Arsenal T pier, has shipped 300 tons of 100-pounder Armstrong shot and shell, 50 tons of medical stores, 100 chests of muskets, and a large amount of beds and bedding, hospital-clothing, and stores, and general necessaries for the garrisons of St. John's, New Brunswick, and Halifax. The Wisbech, a screw steamer of heavy tonnage, yesterday arrived alongside, awaiting a berth to ship for the same destination.
We 15 January 1862

[A portion of the following appeared in our Second Edition of yesterday:-]
Reuter's telegrams.


The Royal Mail steamship America, from New York on the 1st inst., arrived here at 8 a.m., with 24 passengers and $56,866 in specie for England.
She landed 71 sacks of mails and three passengers, and proceeded for Liverpool at 8 30 a.m.; all well.
She experienced very rough weather on her passage home.

NEW YORK, Dec. 31, Evening.

(Per America viâ Queenstown.)

The excitement of the public on the Trent question has materially subsided.
Since the settlement of the question the American press has been much more moderate in tone towards England.
The New York Journal of Commerce thinks that Mr. Seward's answer to Lord Lyons does not settle the question of International Law, but leaves it open for England to withdraw from the subject without denying or admitting the law laid down by Mr. Seward. The Journal of Commerce considers, however, that England cannot honourably do this. The New York Evening Post considers that, although Mr. Seward states the informality of the seizure to be the reason for surrendering Messrs. Mason and Slidell, the real reason is that America cannot afford to go to war with England. The New York Times urges the assembling of an International Congress for the settlement of the question of International Law.
It is supposed that Messrs. Mason and Slidell will proceed to Europe in the steamer Niagara, which sails from Boston in a few days.
Th 16 January 1862


The following additional correspondence was published in Tuesday night's Gazette:-

"Earl Russell to Lord Lyons.

"Foreign-office, Dec. 19, 1961.

"My Lord, - Mr. Adams came to me to-day at the Foreign-office, at 3 o'clock. He said he came to ask two questions which concerned himself personally.
"I interrupted him to ask whether what he was going to say was by order of his Government, or from his own sense of what he ought to do.
"Mr. Adams answered that the proceeding was entirely his own, but that he had with him a despatch from Mr. Seward which he was authorized to read to me if he should think fit to do so. It appeared, he said, from that despatch, that the Government of Washington had not authorized the capture of the two insurgents, Mason and Slidell, and that the United States' Government stood quite uncommitted at the time of sending the despatch.
"I said that if the despatch did not enter into any controversy with regard to the case of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, I should be glad to hear it read.
"Mr. Adams then proceeded to read the despatch. It commenced by referring with approbation to a speech made by Mr. Adams at the Mansion-house, and proceeded to notice with gratification the sentiments which had been expressed by Lord Palmerston in a conversation he had held with Mr. Adams in reference to the James Adger.
"Mr. Seward then proceeds to declare that the American Government value highly the friendship of Great Britain, and lament that certain causes of difference have arisen, owing, as Mr. Seward imagines, to the want of attention on the part of the British Government to the performance of the duties incumbent on a friendly Power during the struggle in which the United States are engaged. Mr. Seward gives as instances the case of communication to the Confederate authorities by Mr. Bunch; the admission of the Sumter privateer to purchase coal and provisions at Trinidad, in distinction, as he said, to the conduct of every European State; and the arrival in the Southern States of vessels laden with arms and ammunition from England.
"Mr. Seward then proceeds to the case of the Trent, from which ship the two insurgents had been taken. He affirms that no instructions were given to Captain Wilkes which authorized him to act in the manner he had done. Neither had the United States' Government committed itself with regard to any decision upon the character of that act. The Government would wait for any representation the British Government might make before coming to any positive decision. He desires that if Mr. Adams shall think it desirable, this despatch shall be read to me, and also to Lord Palmerston.
"In answer to Mr. Adams, I touched upon most of the points treated of in the despatch. I did not think it necessary, however, to recur to the case of Mr. Bunch.
"With regard to the Confederate privateer, I said that l could not see that our conduct had been different from that of France and Holland, or of Spain. The Sumter had been refused coal from the Government stores at Trinidad, but had been allowed to get coal and provisions from private merchants. The same thing had taken place at Martinique, and at Curaçoa. I did not find that the rule of 24 hours had been observed in practice, but there would be little difficulty in coming to an agreement on this point.
"In regard to the export of arms and ammunition to the Confederate States, I had lately read the opinion of the Attorney-General, and believed it was in entire conformity with the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act; warlike equipment of a vessel was prohibited; the loading a vessel with arms and ammunition was not prohibited. But, in point of fact, a much greater amount of arms and ammunition had been sent to the Federal States, where there was no obstacle to the export or the import, than to the ports of the Confederate States, which were blockaded. Mr. Adams admitted this to be the fact, and said he had refrained from pressing a more rigorous compliance, with the Foreign Enlistment Act for this reason.
"I then stated to Mr. Adams the substance of the two despatches I had written to Lord Lyons on the subject of the Trent.
"I told him that in a private letter I had directed Lord Lyons to talk the matter over with Mr. Seward two days before reading to him the despatch. Mr. Adams asked whether the direction to Lord Lyons to leave Washington in seven days was in the despatch to be read. I said it was not, and that in case Mr. Seward should ask what would be the consequence of a refusal on his part to comply with our conditions, Lord Lyons was to decline to answer that question, in order not to have the appearance of a threat. I said that I thought the explanation that the Government had not authorized the seizure would stand in the place of an apology.
"But the essential condition was, that Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell should be given up to Lord Lyons.
"Mr. Adams said that if the matter was stated to Mr. Seward in the manner I had explained, he hoped for an amicable termination of the difference; he thought that if the Government of the United States insisted on maintaining the act of Captain Wilkes, the United States would be abandoning their doctrine and adopting ours.
"Mr. Adams asked me a further question, which he said I might decline to answer; it was, whether, if Lord Lyons came away, a declaration of war would be the immediate consequence.
"I told him nothing was decided on that point; we should wait for a reply from America, and then decide upon our course.
"I stated to Mr. Adams the substance of M. Thouvenel's despatch to M. Mercier as I had heard it from M de Flahault.
"Mr. Adams said that the French Government had always been very consistent in their maintenance of the rights of neutrals. He added that he could not pay our Government the same compliment.
"I said I would dispense with compliments if this matter could be amicably arranged.
"We parted on very friendly terms.
"I am. &c.,

"Lord Lyons to Earl Russell, received Jan. 9.

"Washington, Dec. 27,1861.

"My Lord, - I have the honour to inclose a copy of a note which I have this morning received from Mr. Seward, in answer to your Lordship's despatch of the 30th of last month, relative to the removal of Mr. Mason, Mr. Slidell, Mr. MacFarland, and Mr. Eustis from the British mail packet Trent.>br> "The note contains a very long and very elaborate dissertation on the questions of international law involved in the case. I have not time, before the departure of the messenger, to weigh the arguments or to estimate precisely the force of the expressions used. But, as Mr. Seward admits that reparation is due to Great Britain, and consents to deliver the four prisoners to me, I consider that the demands of Her Majesty's Government are so far substantially complied with, that it is my duty, in obedience to your Lordship's commands, to report the facts to Her Majesty's Government for their consideration, and to remain at my post until I receive further orders. I have the honour to inclose a copy of the answer which I have made to Mr. Seward's note. I have confined myself to stating that I will forward a copy of it to Her Majesty's Government, and that I will confer with Mr. Seward personally on the arrangements to be made for the delivery of the prisoners to me.
"I have, &c.,

"Earl Russell to Lord Lyons.

"Foreign-office, Jan. 11.

"My Lord, - In my despatch to you of the 30th of November, after informing you of the circumstances which had occurred in relation to the capture of the four persons taken from on board the Trent, I stated to you that it thus appeared that certain individuals had been forcibly taken from on board a British vessel, the ship of a neutral Power, while such vessel was pursuing a lawful and innocent voyage, - an act of violence which was an affront to the British flag and a violation of international law. I concluded by directing you, in case the reparation which Her Majesty's Government expected to receive should not be offered by Mr. Seward, to propose to that Minister to make such redress as alone would satisfy the British nation - namely, first, the liberation of the four gentlemen taken from on board the Trent, and their delivery to your Lordship, in order that they might again be placed under British protection; and, secondly, a suitable apology for the aggression which had been committed.
"I received, yesterday, your despatch of the 27th ult., inclosing a note to you from Mr. Seward, which is in substance the answer to my despatch of the 30th of November.
"Proceeding at once to the main points in discussion between us, Her Majesty's Government have carefully examined how far Mr. Seward's note, and the conduct it announces, complies substantially with the two proposals I have recited.
"With regard to the first - viz., the liberation of the prisoners with a view to their being again placed under British protection, I find that the note concludes by stating that the prisoners will be cheerfully liberated, and by calling upon your Lordship to indicate a time and place for receiving them.
"No condition of any kind is coupled with the liberation of the prisoners.
"With regard to the suitable apology which the British Government had a right to expect, I find that the Government of the United States distinctly and unequivocally declares that no directions had been given to Captain Wilkes, or to any other naval officer, to arrest the four persons named, or any of them, on the Trent, or on any other British vessel, or on any other neutral vessel, at the place where it occurred, or elsewhere.
"I find, further, that the Secretary of State expressly forbears to justify the particular act of which Her Majesty's Government complained. If the United States' Government had alleged that, although Captain Wilkes had no previous instruction for that purpose, he was right in capturing the persons of the four prisoners, and in removing them from the Trent on board his own vessel, to be afterwards carried into a port of the United States, the Government which had thus sanctioned the proceeding of Captain Wilkes would have become responsible for the original violence and insult of the act. But Mr. Seward contents himself with stating that what has happened has been simply an inadvertency, consisting in a departure by a naval officer, free from any wrongful motive, from a rude uncertainly established, and probably by the several parties concerned either imperfectly understood or entirely unknown. The Secretary of State goes on to affirm that for this error the British Government has a right to expect the same reparation which the United States, as an independent State, should expect from Great Britain, or from any other friendly nation, in a similar case.
"Her Majesty's Government having carefully taken into their consideration the liberation of the prisoners, the delivery of them into your hands, and the explanations to which I have just referred, have arrived at the conclusion that they constitute the reparation which Her Majesty and the British nation had a right to expect.
"It gives Her Majesty's Government great satisfaction to be enabled to arrive at a conclusion favourable to the maintenance of the most friendly relations between the two nations. I need not discuss the modifications in my statement of facts which Mr. Seward says he has derived from the reports of officers of his Government.
"I cannot conclude, however, without adverting shortly to the discussions which Mr. Seward has raised upon points not prominently brought into question in my despatch of the 30th of November. I there objected, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, to that which Captain Wilkes had done. Mr. Seward, in his answer, points out what he conceives Captain Wilkes might have done without violating the law of nations. "It is not necessary that I should here discuss in detail the five questions ably argued by the Secretary of State; but it is necessary that I should say that Her Majesty's Government differ from Mr. Seward in some of the conclusions at which he has arrived. And it may lead to a better understanding between the two nations on several points of international law which may during the present contest or at some future time be brought into question, that I should state to you, for communication to the Secretary of State, wherein those differences consist; I hope to do so in a few days. | "In the meantime it will be desirable that the commanders of the United States' cruisers should be instructed not to repeat acts for which the British Government will have to ask for redress, and which the United States Government cannot undertake to justify.
"You will read and give a copy of this despatch to the Secretary of State.
"l am. &c., (Signed)

"Earl Russell to Lord Lyons.

"Foreign-office, Jan. 11.

"My Lord, - Your conduct in the important matter of the Trent is entirely approved by Her Majesty. The discretion and good temper you have shown have contributed greatly to the success of our operations.
"In order to give your Lordship, by a public document, a proof that you have acted strictly according to the instructions you have received, I enclose an extract, annexed to this despatch, of a private letter I addressed to you on the 1st of December last.
"I am, &c., (Signed)

Extract op a Private Letter from Earl Russell to Lord Lyons, Dec. 1,1861.

"'The despatches which were agreed to at the Cabinet yesterday morning, and which I have signed this morning, impose upon you a disagreeable task. My wish would be that, at your first interview with Mr. Seward, you should not take my despatch with you, but should prepare him for it, and ask him to settle with the President and the Cabinet what course they would propose.
"'The next time you should bring my despatch, and read it to him fully.
"'If he asks what will be the consequence of his refusing compliance, I think you should say that you wish to leave him and the President quite free to take their own course, and that you desire to abstain from anything like menace.'"
Th 16 January 1862


The Gazette of Tuesday contains the whole of the official despatches which relate to the affair of the Trent. The greater portion of these have already met the public eye, and even those which have not been formally published lack the interest of novelty, for their substance has been given to the world long since. Their appearance, however, in this collected state affords us an opportunity of taking a general view of the whole transaction, and of weighing the offence suffered against the reparation received.

Of the offence committed there is not now much to be said. That the act of the Captain of the San Jacinto was a wound to the honour and dignity of this country was not only acutely felt throughout England, but was promptly declared by all the great Powers of Christendom. It has, moreover, not only been admitted, but actually asserted, by the Americana themselves. It was not a light wrong, nor an accidental wrong. It was not a mere injury from which we suffered damage in money or in territory. It was not even an injustice done to ourselves, and which we might therefore have some right to pardon or pass over. It was a wrong done to strangers who had placed themselves under our protection, and for whose safety we were, as a nation, pledged. It was a direct insult to that flag which is the visible symbol of our existence as an independent nation. All this now stands clear and undisputed upon the correspondence before us; and when future generations come to sift these documents, and to judge from them whether we have faithfully preserved the good name which had been transmitted to us; there can be no other conclusion than that in this instance we had received an offence which, while it remained uneffaced, must lower our self-respect and tarnish our reputation among other nations. This was known from the first moment. Every one knew it. The American Minister knew it, perhaps, better than any one else.

What, under these circumstances, was the conduct of the offending nation? We will not recount as national acts the meetings which took place in all the great cities of the Federal States. We will not go back to the action of the municipal bodies in conferring civic honours upon the perpetrator of this unprovoked affront, nor will we refer to the speeches of high judicial officers and Governors of States teeming with hostility to this country, and triumphing in the shame which had been put upon her. Nor will we stamp with a national character the unanimous declaration of the American Press that what had been done should be maintained, by tricks of diplomacy if it might be so, but by force and by war if it were necessary. There were other acts, however, which no force of credulity and no simulated blindness could divest of a public and a national character. We may adduce especially the formal approval of the conduct of the Commander of the San Jacinto by the Minister of State for the Department of the Navy. Such, also, was the vote of thanks passed in Congress to the agent of this aggression; and such, above all, was the act of the President and his Cabinet in accepting the captives from the hands of their Captain, and making them their prisoners by committing them to a Federal fortress. All this was the conduct of the nation, which, as we now know, was thoroughly well aware that they were dealing with an act of illegal outrage, committed upon a friendly Power. These acts were notorious in England. Between the 8th of November, when the seizure on board the Trent took place, and the 19th of December, nothing had been heard here but the joy and triumph which reigned across the Atlantic. The American Government was up to that date silent, except by its acts. On that day, however, Mr. Adams came to Lord Russell, and made the first approach towards the commencement of those protracted negotiations with which we have been told by the American Press it was the intention to amuse us. The letter Mr. Adams produced was not a direct despatch to the English Minister, but a letter to his own representative written by the American Minister for Foreign Affairs. It is not a disavowal of the act committed by the naval Captain, nor does it offer the least hope of the surrender of the prisoners. "He affirms," writes Lord Russell, "that no instructions were given to Captain Wilkes which anthorized him to act in the manner he had done. Neither had the United States' Government committed itself with regard to any decision upon the character of that act. The Government would wait for any representation the British Government might make before coming to any positive decision." This is all. With the exception of the permission to Mr. Adams to read that letter, if he pleased, to Lords Palmerston and Russell, this was the notice which the American Minister thought proper to take towards a great nation of an outrage which had almost stunned it with surprise. Such a letter was of the kind which the Press had prepared us to expect, and it rendered it quite evident we had to deal with a Government from which we must expect our right, not from a sense of justice, but from a fear of consequences. How differently, under a similar circumstance, did one of our English Ministers act! We are indebted to the current number of the Edinburgh Review for the documents which show the conduct of Mr. Canning when a British officer had committed upon the American flag an outrage similar to that which the Captain of the San Jacinto committed upon the Trent. The affair of the Leopard and Chesapeake was not an attack by an armed ship upon a defenceless packet; it was an insult offered by one ship of war to another of equal rate; and, although the wrong was undoubted, it was not more indubitable than that which America had to answer. The intelligence reached London on the 25th of July, 1807. Mr. Canning did not lose a day. London did not vote the freedom of the city to the Captain of the Leopard, nor did the English Judges applaud him in Guildhall for disregarding the law; nor did the House of Commons vote him thanks, or the Secretary to the Admiralty officially approve his conduct. Mr. Canning, on the very same day on which he received the news, wrote to the American Minister expressing his deepest regret, his sincere concern and sorrow at the unfortunate collision, and promising, both for himself and for his Government, the most prompt and effectual reparation to the United States.

We might pursue this contrast between these two cases into a review of the manner in which the insulted nation has acted. Extreme moderation in expression, accompanied by great energy in action, was probably never more fully exemplified than in the conduct of this affair by the British Government. The words, without the deeds, were so cautiously courteous that they would have read like pusillanimity, and might have tempted such an antagonist as we had found to believe that we were not in earnest. The despatch which was sent from London on the 30th of November, as soon as the opinion of the Law Officers had been obtained, contained not one word of menace, nor one word of demand which it was possible to omit. By the private letter accompanying it, extracts from which are now made public in these despatches, Lord Lyons was directed courteously to prepare Mr. Seward for the reception of that despatch, and to refuse, even if interrogated, to state that war must be the alternative of complying with its contents. If the Americans had done us some great favour for which we were sending an Embassy to thank them, we could not have been more carefully polite. Very different was the language of President Madison in the case of the Chesapeake. "A formal disavowal of the deed, and restoration of the four seamen to the ship from which they were taken, are things of course and indispensable." The American President demanded not only reparation for the past, but security for the future. In this case, however, Mr. Seward, while admitting the wrong, rather affects to make a bargain in redressing it; and Lord Russell, on behalf of England, is content to put aside these pretensions, and only drily to desire him to instruct the United States' cruisers "not to repeat acts for which the British Government will have to ask for redress, and which, the United States' Government cannot undertake to justify." When we, in the case of the Chesapeake, made reparation and apology, we did it in good faith. We withdrew our Admiral, and we punished, perhaps too severely, the over-zeal of our Captain. The President insisted that "the United States have a right to expect every solemnity of form and every other ingredient of restitution and respect which, according to usage and the sentiments of mankind, are proper in the strongest cases of insult to the rights and sovereignty of a nation; and the British Government is to be apprised of the importance of a full compliance with this expectation to the thorough healing of the wound which has been made in the feelings of the American people." Nor was there any hesitation on our part in complying with these demands, for Mr. Canning felt it to be as necessary to English as to American honour that the satisfaction should be complete. But what of all this has been afforded by the Federal States of America or exacted by England? America has surrendered the prisoners, we have accepted this act as reparation; Lord Russell has exerted all his ingenuity to extract an apology out of the tardy disavowal of Captain Wilkes, but we are proud, nevertheless, to contrast our own full and prompt acknowledgment and reparation of a wrong in 1807 with the manner in which Federal America has acted under similar circumstances in 1862.
Th 16 January 1862

[a portion of the following appeared in our Second Edition of yesterday:-]
Reuter's telegrams.


The Canadian screw steamer Nova Scotian, which arrived here this morning from Portland, brought $40,000 in specie.

NEW YORK, Jan. 3, Afternoon.

Messrs. Mason and Slidell and their Secretaries embarked on the 1st inst., at Providence-town, on board the British steamer Rinaldo, for England. Their departure caused scarcely any excitement. The comments of the New York press on the subject are unimportant.
The uneasy feeling in the public mind in regard to the relations with England still continues. The belligerent tone of the English press and the British warlike preparations have caused the impression to gain ground that England will shortly make the subject of the blockade, or the fact of vessels being sunk in the Southern harbours, a pretext for war with America.
The Senate has agreed to Mr. Sumner's resolution, asking the President to transmit to the Senate all the correspondence which has taken place since the Paris Congress in relation to neutral and belligerent rights upon the ocean.
It is reported that a strong effort will be made to repeal the Canadian Reciprocity Act.
General M'Clellan's health has much improved.
A Federal steamer has been despatched to the coast of Europe for the protection of American commerce. Others are expected to leave shortly.
The New York Chamber of Commerce has remonstrated against the instructions of the Secretary of the Treasury regarding the immediate action of the new tariff.

(Latest by Telegraph to Portland.)

NEW YORK, Jan. 4.

The New York Tribune states that Messrs. Mason and Slidell will only proceed to Halifax in the British steamer Rinaldo, and that from Halifax they will proceed to Europe in the next Cunard steamer.
Fr 17 January 1862Her Majesty's gunboat Rinaldo left Princetown on the evening of the 2d for Halifax, with Messrs. Mason en Slidell on board. It blew a hurricane the same night.

The Boston Traveller of the 2d thus announces the departure of the Southern Commissioners:-
"The departure of Slidell and Mason from Fort Warren yesterday, was conducted as quietly as possible. The garrison, with the exception of the guards on duty, were kept from the side of the fort where the prisoners' quarters are, and there were but few persons upon the wharf when they embarked. The other political prisoners, as they bade them good bye, congratulated them on their release. Mr. Mason went off in good humour. Indeed, he has recently been in good spirits, and he has borne his imprisonment with the air of a philosopher. Mr. Slidell was somewhat sulky, and not at all pleased at going in such an unostentatious manner, and in such a vessel. He evidently expected that a steamer would come here especially for them. Part of his ill-nature may be owing to his health, which has not been good for some weeks, keeping him pretty close to his room, although he has not called for medical aid. The tug Starlight, with the four rebels, reached Princetown a little before 5 p.m., and immediately proceeded to the English sloop of war Rinaldo, and transferred her passengers. Commander Hudson, who was in charge of the arrangements, went with them on board the English war vessel, and remained on board for about 15 minutes, when he returned to the tug. At about 6 p.m. the Rinaldo got under weigh, and proceeded on her voyage. In about two hours afterwards a violent gale commenced, and blew all night at Princetown with almost the violence of a hurricane, but, as the wind was off shore, probably the safety of the vessel was not endangered. During the stay of the Rinaldo at Princetown no communication was allowed with the shore, nor was any boat allowed to come alongside." board. It blew a hurricane
Ma 20 January 1862The Rinaldo, with Mason and Slidell on board, sailed from Princetown on the 2d inst., a strong gale from N.E. blowing off shore. She had not reached Halifax on the 10th, and Captain Judkins supposes she has borne down south for Bermuda, or some other of the West India Islands.
Th 30 January 1862The Royal Mail Company's steamship La Plata, Captain C.G. Weller, arrived, at Southampton yesterday at 9 30 a.m., with mails in charge of Lieutenant de Brock, R.N., naval mail agent. She left St. Thomas on the 14th inst., and experienced heavy gales from N.W. to S.W. during the voyage.... This steamer brought 75 passengers (viz., 62 first-class, 12 second, 1 child, 2 servants, 5 distressed British seamen, and 3 naval invalids), among whom were Messrs. Mason, Slidell, M'Farland, and Eustis, the liberated Confederate Commissioners and their Secretaries...


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