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[800] reading handed it to me. I presented it to Captain Wilkes, but after a consultation we agreed that as the letter had no signature, and the manner in which it reached us was unofficial, that we would consider it as never having been written. Among my papers I found this redoubtable letter recently, and the following is an exact copy thereof:

In this ship I am the representative of Her Majesty's Government, and I call upon the officers of the ship and passengers generally to mark my words, when, in the name of the British Government, and in distinct language, I denounce this an illegal act; an act in violation of international law; an act, indeed, of wanton piracy, which, had we the means of defense, you would not dare to attempt.

Mr. Eustis, one of the secretaries, was more violent than either of the principals, and made a demonstration in the direction of striking Lieutenant Greer with his fist. He passed into the boat sans ceremonie. McFarland had previously taken his seat alongside of Mr. Slidell in the stern-sheets of the boat. Our object having been accomplished, we bade the Trent good-bye, first bringing the personal effects of the prisoners to the “San Jacinto,” and we were soon headed north, our mission in Bahama channel being au fait accompli.

We arrived at Port Royal too late to take part in the attack. Having been ordered home, on the 18th of November we steamed into the Narrows, where we were met by a steam tug, on board of which was the United States Marshal, with orders to proceed to Boston and deliver our prisoners at Fort Warren. We did not anchor until the 21st, and the cruise of the “San Jacinto” ended when we deposited the Confederate diplomats in the casements of that prison.

On the 3d of December, on the motion of Congressman Odell, Slidell and Mason were ordered into close confinement, in return for the treatment that Colonels Wood and Corcoran had received in Southern prisons. It was some time before the diplomatic correspondence that ensued between England, France, and the Unitel States was made public. The United States agreed to release the prisoners, but declined to apologize to the English flag for an alleged offense where none was intended. Mason and Slidell joined their families in London in January, 1862, and their further actions passes out of the ken of the writer.

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John Slidell (3)
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