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Her Majesty's government, therefore, can only hope that a peaceful termination of the present bloody and destructive contest may not be distant. I am, etc.,

Lord Russell to Mason, Slidell, and Mann.

Foreign office, February 13, 1865.
gentlemen: Some time ago I had the honor to inform you, in answer to a statement which you sent me, that her Majesty remained neutral in the deplorable contest now carried on in North America, and that her Majesty intended to persist in that course.

It is now my duty to request you to bring to the notice of the authorities under whom you act, with a view to their serious consideration thereof, the just complaints which her Majesty's government have to make of the conduct of the so-called Confederate government. The facts upon which these complaints are founded tend to show that her Majesty's neutrality is not respected by the agents of that government, and that undue and reprehensible attempts have been made by them to involve her Majesty in a war in which her Majesty had declared her intention not to take part.

In the first place, I am sorry to observe that the unwarrantable practice of building ships in this country, to be used as vessels of war against a state with which her Majesty is at peace, still continues. Her Majesty's government had hoped that this attempt to make the territorial waters of Great Britain the place of preparation for warlike armaments against the United States, might be put an end to by prosecutions and by seizure of the vessels built in pursuance of contracts made with the Confederate agents. But facts which are, unhappily, too notorious, and correspondence which has been put into the hands of her Majesty's government by the minister of the government of the United States, show that resort is had to evasion and subtlety in order to escape the penalties of the law; that a vessel is bought in one place, that her armament is prepared in another, and that both are sent to some distant port beyond her Majesty's jurisdiction, and that thus an armed steamship is fitted out to cruise against the commerce of a power in amity with her Majesty. A crew composed partly of British subjects is procured separately; wages are paid to them for an unknown service. They are dispatched, perhaps to the coast of France, and there or elsewhere are engaged to serve in a Confederate man-of-war.

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