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interesting correspondence on the Trent affair.

From the Norfolk Day Book we clip the following highly interesting correspondence upon the subject which has so lately agitated the civilized world:

The London Gazette, of January 14, contains the diplomatic correspondence that has passed between the British and American Governments on the subject of the Trent. The more important of them have already been made known through the American press. The additional dispatches which now appear are, however, full of interest, and present the case in some new lights. Following Earl Russell's dispatch demanding reparation, already published, there comes another dispatch from Earl Russell, as follows:

Correspondence on the Trent affair.

Foreign Office, Dec. 9, 1861
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 dispatch 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 dispatch 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 dispatch.

I said that if the dispatch 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 dispatch. 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 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 differences 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 other provisions at Trinidad, in contra 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 two insurgents had been taken. He affirms that no instructions were given to Capt. 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 should think it desirable, this dispatch 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 dispatch. I did not think it necessary; however, to recur to the case of Mr. Bunch.

With regard to the Confederate privateer, I said that I 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 of Trinidad, but had been allowed to get coal and provisions from private merchants. The same thing had taken place at Martinique and at Curacoa. I did not find that the rule of twenty-four 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 believe 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 vigorous compliance with the Foreign Enlistment Act for this reason.

I then stated to Mr. Adams the substance of the two dispatches 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 dispatch. Mr. Adams asked whether the direction to Lord Lyons to leave Washington in seven days was in the dispatch to be read. I said it was not, and 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 that 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 action of Capt. 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 the reply from America and then decide upon our course.

I stated to Mr. Adams the substance of M. Thouvenel's dispatch 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.,

(Signed) Russell.

Lord Lyons to Earl Russell (received January 9)

Washington, Dec. 27, 1861.
My Lord:
I have the honor to enclose a copy of a note which I have this morning received from Mr. Seward, in answer to your Lordship's dispatch of the 30th of last month, relative to the removal of Mr. Mason, Mr. Sidell, Mr. Macfarland, and Mr. Eustis, from the British mail packet Trent.

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 honor to enclose 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.,

(Signed) Lyons.
[These enclosures have already been published.]

Real Russell to Lord Lyons.

Foreign Office, Jan. 11, 1862.
My Lord:
--In my dispatch 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 dispatch of the 27th ult., enclosing a note to you from Mr. Seward, which is, in substance, the answer to my dispatch of the 20th of November.

Proceeding at once to the main points in discussion between us, her Majesty's Government have carefully examined how for Mr. Majesty's

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 Capt. Wilkes, or to any other naval officer, to arrest the four persons named or any of them on the Trent 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 of a naval officer, free from any wrongful motive, from a rule 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 favorable to the maintenance of the most friendly relations between the two nations. I need not discuss the modifications in my statement of the facts which Mr. Seward says he has derived from 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 in to question in my dispatch 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 laws 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 at some future time, be brought into question, that I should state to you, for communication to the Secretary of State, wherein these 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 U. S. Government cannot undertake to justify.

You will read and give a copy of this dispatch to the Secretary of State.

I am, &c.,

(Signed) Russell.

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 dispatch, of a private letter addressed to you on the 1st of December last.

I am, &c.

(Signed) Russell.

Extract of a private letter from Earl Russell to Lord Lyons, dec. 1, 1861.

The dispatches which were agreed to at the Cabinet yesterday, 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 dispatch with you, but 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 dispatch, 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.

English opinion of Mr. Seward's Diplomacy.
[from the London. Post, (Government organ,) Jan. 14.]

There are several circumstances of the diplomatic correspondence on the Trent affair which, when closely examined, render that correspondence altogether unexampled in the history of political writing or the conduct of international relations. To those well-meaning, perhaps but not very sagacious persons, whose transatlantic sympathies lead them to regard with favor the course pursued by the Federal Government, and who see, in the language of its Foreign Minister, the proofs of a wish to conciliate the good-will of England, and to respect the public law of Europe, we would simply recommend an attentive consideration of the following facts:

The dispatch of Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams, of the 30th November, which, by a gross misconception of its nature, has been termed a disavowal of Captain Wilkes, is singularly enough dated on the very same day on which Earl Russell's demand to the Federal Government was penned here. The outrage was committed on the 8th of the same month. The news brought by the Persia, which left New York on the 20th of that month, ten days before Mr. Seward's dispatch was written, speaks, amongst other things, on the general approval given to the act in Washington, adding even that the interest in the question had become there already exhausted, and that public attention was engaged with other matters. Mr. Seward had been, therefore, in no great hurry to deliver any opinion on the Trent affair, when, in reply to a note of Mr. Adams, of the 15th, he ‘"hastened"’ to write the note which was to leave by the mail of the 4th of December. By that time, however, there appears to have dawned upon his mind the idea that the outrage on the British flag might not be taken in England very quietly. He had been for a fortnight in full possession of the chief facts of the case.

He had been for several days in possession of all the official reports bearing on the act. He could learn nothing more than he knew on the 30th of November, of the circumstances under which Captain Wilkes had perpetrated the outrage. The act of Captain Wilkes was either legal or illegal, and the principles and precedents by which its legal or illegal character must be determined, were as well known to the Government lawyers in America then as they could possibly be afterwards. The ground which the British Government might choose to take on its becoming acquainted with the outrage, could affect the policy and expediency of a surrender of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, or the reverse; but it could not alter the character, in the eyes of international law, of the act committed in the Bahama channel. A sagacious and high-minded statesman, who implied, in the terms of his dispatch, that he was ‘ "attentive to the currents that seemed to be bringing the two countries into collision, "’ would have first secured a firm footing on the common ground of international law and justice, and then employed the advantage of his position to remove those immediate causes of offence and irritation to Great Britain which he so strongly deprecated. Mr. Seward did exactly the reverse.

He intimated that a certain prospective and possible policy on the part of England, or indeed of any European power, or of all the European powers taken together, would lead to immediate war between the Federal Government and the power or powers which should thus offend it. Having gratuitously advanced an hypothesis, in which international relations of the Federal Government would be simply those of ‘"Bully Dawson kicking all the world, and all the world kicking Bully Dawson,"’ he expresses his regret at the inattention of the British Government to the currents that were bringing the two countries into collision, and then touches on the inference drawn from Lord Palmerston's remarks that the British Government was at length awake to the importance of averting a possible conflict. And then he proceeded to speak of the Trent affair. Would not any sane man, who, a few sentences before, had been speaking of the currents likely to bring the two countries into collision, yet who knew that, from this Trent outrage, a current mighty as the Golf stream itself was then falling from the American shores to England the causes, it not arrested, of certain hostility between America and England, have said one word, one little word, to stem his course?

Did Mr. Seward do this? It would have been a thousand times better for him to have preserved absolute silence than to have made the statement that, whilst in the capture of

fact. This is what certain of our contemporaries are pleased to term the disavowal, by Mr. Seward, of the outrage committed by Captain Wilkes; this is the declaration which, in the native language of the American diplomatists, ‘"frees the subject from the embarrassment which might have resulted if the act had been specially directed by the Federal Government. "’ To any statesman of ordinary intelligence, the embarrassment would seemed to be increased a hundred-fold. The Federal Government has done everything in its power to shut the door which, with the view of sparing it humiliation, Lord Russell in his subsequent dispatch was desirous to leave open.

The blockade of the Nashville.
[from the London post (Government organ) Jan. 13.

The Nashville imprudently remains too long, the intelligence that she is refitting from stem to stern flies to America, and, quick as lightning, out comes the Tuscarora to make up for the short-comings of the less vigilant James Adger. The Tuscarora catches the Nashville napping. If the Southern Captain had exercised ordinary foresight, he would have been under weigh within the time at which it would have been possible for the Federal Government to have sent here another ship, after the news of his arrival at Southampton had reached Washington. The Nashville carries, we believe, but two guns, and the Tuscarora nine. The Yankee Captain accordingly anchors in Southampton waters.

In this state of things the Nashville has three courses before her. She might endeavor to escape the Tuscarora in the dead of night, or she might wait until the expected Sumter move in sight, and then boldly steam out, in defiance of the Tuscarora; or, thirdly, she must lay her account with being blockaded during the remainder of the winter. The Tuscarora guessed, and not erroneously as it seems, that the former was the course on which the Nashville had resolved. During the last few nights two officers and three men belonging to the former vessel have been found by the superintendent of the dock in close proximity to the Nashville with a dark lantern and combustibles. The superintendent appears, on the first occasion, and not without some show of reason, to have taken them at the outset for political incendiaries, and to have meditated giving them into custody for intended arson. But, although their ready explanation was doubtless the true one--that they were there simply to ascertain whether the Nashville was preparing to leave the dock, and that their explosives were to be used merely as signals to the Tuscarora — the superintendent did but his duty in ejecting them, on the ground that the dock was private property, and that they were infringing regulations in lurking there, amid so many circumstances of suspicion, after nightfall.

Not many days ago the Sumter put into Cadiz with the crews of three Federal mercantile vessels which she had sunk. It is stated, perhaps without sufficient authority, that she has again left Cadiz, and may daily be expected at Southampton. She is said to carry twelve guns and a complement of 140 men. Possibly, on her first appearance in the offing, the Nashville will steam out of dock; and the Tuscarora, should she pursue, will then be caught between two fires.

It must at any rate be acknowledged in America that we are giving fair play to either side.

The Southern privateers are doing at this moment the more deadly executions that, as they are unable, under the European law of privateering, to procure the condemnation of their prizes in any Court of Admiralty on this side of the Atlantic, they are reduced to the barbarous necessity of burning them at sea. A power, however, which has resorted to the extreme measure of destroying the harbor of Charleston, will not in future have much ground for declaiming against the rigor of the maritime policy of its opponents. But, for ourselves, we fear we must endure the nuisance of this smothered warfare in our ports as long as the two belligerents choose to inflict upon us the visitation of their presence.

Fair play.

To prevent any attempt on the part of the Tuscarora to evade the demands made by the Government, the Dauntless, which lies off Netley Abbey, about three miles lower down the river, has been fully manned and equipped. She has orders to keep steam up, and is brought to by a spring cable, ready to prevent any act of aggression on the part of the Federal vessel. It is also arranged that, should necessity require it, the Dauntless can signal the Warrior, which vessel is lying off Osborne with her fires banked up. A gunboat has also been ordered here from Portsmouth.

It is said that the Tuscarora is very badly built, that her guns are too large and heavy for a vessel of her size and class, there not being room enough to work them properly. She is very leaky, and the men are obliged to be kept at the pumps; and it is the opinion of those who have visited her, competent to form an opinion, that she will not be able to stand the shock from such heavy metal as she carries.

Is the Sumter a Cruiser or privateer?

The Moniteur de la Flatte, of Paris, January 12th, says:

‘ We remark that since the Sumter has been spoken of in Europe the majority of newspapers, and even those most favorable to the Confederate States, designate this ship under the name of privateer.

’ The London Shipping Journal says:

‘ The admission of the Sumter into Cadiz is, so far as it goes, a direct acknowledgment by Spain of the South as a belligerent State.--It may be more than this. There is considerable doubt whether the Sumter should be regarded as a privateer. Her commander holds a commission from the Confederate Government, and it is said that this ship has been regularly commissioned as a Confederate war ship. If this be so, and that the Spanish authorities are aware of the fact, the Sumter has been admitted into Cadiz harbor on the footing of a Confederate cruiser, the same way as a Federal war ship — the Iroquois, for example — would have been admitted to the hospitalities of that port.

The hospitality extended to the Southern Commissioners while at Havana, the interest displayed by the people and the authorities of Port Royal, in Martinique, in the recent escape of the Sumter from under the guns of the Iroquois, and the subsequent admission of the Sumter into Cadiz, show very clearly that England is not the only country in which the Confederates have a recognized belligerent status, or where there is a determination not to permit any interference with the admitted rights of neutrals. If the Federal Government is wise, they will profit by the lesson which the event we have referred to teaches.

If the Federal Consul at Cadiz thinks it necessary to leave that port because a Confederate cruiser has been admitted, and that he does so with the sanction of his Government, we foresee that before long there will not be a Federal consul in any of the ports of Europe.

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