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The Mason-slidell Affair

The Mason-slidell Affair image
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o. 13. JExtractJ Department of Statï, ) Washington Nov. SO,' 01 $ JiiAut.r.s P. Adams, Kí.j , Seo., Sso.: Rut - Your oonfidenti&l note of the [5th of November, not marked aa a derpatch, has been subiniUed to tlic Preeilent, ffrid I harten to reply to it iu time jar tha Wednesdáy'a mail. No minister over spukü or aeted more íisely in a crisis whicb exoitod Jeep pubic solicitude than yon did on tbe ocea;ion of the Lord Mujor's diuner. We aro iinpresscd very fuvordbly by Lord Palinerstön'seonvèrBalion with you. You spokB tlio simple fact wlien you told lira that ihe Ufo of this iusun-cctiou i :;d by its hnpes of rccognition in Oreat Britain and Franco, It would perish in nincty wys ií'llioso liopcs should ?eae. I havp nevef fur a ínomant believed that suob a reoognitioo could tako placo without producing immediately a ' vvar bctwecn tho United States and all tho reoogoisipg powcrs. I have not supposed it possiblc that the liri tisli govcrnment could fail to see this, and at the same time I liave sincercly believed the ]3rits]i government must, in its inmoüt heart, be ns averse to such a war as I know this governmont is. I aia sure that this government has carefully avoidod giviog any cause of offence or irritation to Great Britain. - JSut it has Beeiucd to me that tho British governnjent has been inattontive to the eurrouts that soemod to be bringing the two countries into cnllision. I infer fi'iin JiOté Palrncrston's re marks that the Tíritisli government is now awakc to tho importanoe of averting possible conflict, and disposed to coufer and act with carieBtnes9 to that end. If so, we are disposed to meet thcm in the same spirit, as a nation cliicfly of British 1 _ ü -v i 1 í' J ■ 1 C f !_" ' lti t -. 'VMIi"NlI il f ITT Iincarre, f-enumcms anu Bympnaiea, a civiiizcd' aud liumaDo nailon, a Chrutian peoplo. Sinee tliat conversatlon was held, Cap tain Wilkes, iu the stcamer San Jacinto, has boarded a Britisli colonial steamer, and takcn from her deck two insnrgtnts wlio were proceeding to Europc on au er rand of trcason against thcir own country. Tliis is a new iucident, unkaown to and uníorsecn, at least in its circuinstances, by Lord Palmerston. It is to bo mot and disposed oí by the two governments, if possiblc, in the spirit to which I have adverted, Lord Lyons has prudcntjy rcfrained from opening the subjeut to bic, as, t pro sume, waiting ostructions from home. - We have done nothing on the subject to anticípate the discussion, and we have not furniehed you with any explanations We adhere to that oourse now, because we think it more prudent that theground taken by the British government should be first made known to us here, and that the discussion, if there must be onc, shall be had here. It is proper, however, that you should know one fact in the oase, without inditating that we attach importauce to it, oamely, 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 cmbarrassment which mighthave resul ted if the act had been specially directed by us. I trust that the British gcvernment will cousider the subject in a friendly temper, and it niay expect the best dispositions on the part of this gorernment. Although this is a confidential note, I shall not object to your readiug it to Earl Boseoll and Lord Palmerston, if you deern it cxpedient. I ain Sir, your obedient servant,


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