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[606] coast remained himself, or left his family to live once more, under the flag of the Union. Gen. Sherman issued a pleading, beseeching proclamation to induce them to do so; but none who could read would receive a copy of it, and it fell a dead letter. Soon, the negroes who remained on the islands under our control were set to work at preparing the cotton for market; and, though assured by the master caste that, if they fell into the hands of the Yankees, they would certainly be sent to Cuba and sold, they could not be made to believe that any worse fortune than they had hitherto experienced was in store for them; and their number was steadily augmented by emigrants from the mainland; especially after schools began to be established among them.

The steamship Theodora ran out of Charleston harbor during the night of Oct. 12th, conveying James M. Mason, of Va., Confederate Envoy to Great Britain, and John Slidell, of La., likewise accredited to France. The Theodora duly reached Cardenas, Cuba; whence her official passengers repaired to Havana, and, on the 7th of November, left that port, in the British mail steamer Trent, for St. Thomas, on their way to England. The U. S. steamship San Jacinto, Capt. Wilkes, had left Havana on the 2d, and was watching for them in the Bahama Channel, 240 miles from Havana, when, at 11:40 A. M., of the 8th, he sighted the Trent; and, after a civil request to heave to had been declined by her, a shell was fired across her bow, which brought her to reason. Lieut. Fairfax, with a boat's crew, immediately boarded her in quest of the Embassadors; when Messrs. Mason and Slidell, with their Secretaries, Eustis and McFarland, were compelled to change their vessel and their destination. Their families were left undisturbed, and no effort made to obtain their papers. But the Embassadors and their Secretaries were brought to the United States, and confined, by order of the Government, in Fort Warren, near Boston.

Secretary Welles, in his Annual Report of naval proceedings for the year ending Dec. 2d, 1861, thus fully and frankly adopted and justified the capture:

The prompt and decisive action of Capt. Wilkes on this occasion merited and received the emphatic approval of the Department; and, if a too generous forbearance was exhibited by him in not capturing the vessels which had these Rebel enemies on board, it may, in view of the special circumstances, and of its patriotic motives, be excused; but it must by no means be permitted to constitute a precedent hereafter for the treatment of any case of similar infraction of neutral obligations by foreign vessels engaged in commerce or the carrying-trade.

By a decided majority of the publicists of the United States, as well as by the great mass of our people, this seizure was deemed abundantly justified by the doctrines and practices of Great Britain, but especially by her long continued and never disavowed habit of impressing seamen from our merchant vessels, on the assumption that they were natives of Great Britain, and therefore liable at all times and indefeasibly to be remanded into her service, wherever found. In the able and carefully prepared manifesto1 whereby George IV., then Prince Regent, explained and justified the conduct of his Government touching the matters in controversy

1 Dated Westminster, Jan. 9th. 1813.

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