Newspaper of The New York Herald, December 29, 1861, Page 1

Newspaper of The New York Herald dated December 29, 1861 Page 1
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THE NEW YORK HERALD. WHOLE NO. 9241, NEW YORK, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 29, MCI. PRICE THREE CENTS. THE MMLIDELL AFFAIR. Important Decision of the Ame rican Government The Rebel Commission ers Surrendered to England. Arrangement of the Difficulty. THE DEMAND OF ENGLAND. SECRETARY SEWARD'S REPLY. Vote from the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. MR. SEWARD'S ANSWER. THE EFFECT OF THE DECI810N, &Cm Ac.. &c. it-, gtw.rd to Mr. Adams. Department op State, i Washington, Nov. 30, lbOL. f Charles Francis Adams, Esq.,Ac., Ac., Ac.:? Bib?Your confidential note of the lfitli of No vember, not marked as a despatch, has been sub mitted to the President, and I hasten to reply to H in time for the Wednesday's mail. No minister ever spoke or acted more wisely in a crisis which excited deep public solicitude than yon did on the occasion of the Lord Mayor's dinner. We are impressed very favorably by Lord Pal mers ton's conversation with yon. Yon spoke the dimple fact when you told him that the life of thia insurrection is sustained by its hopes of recog nition in Great Britain and in France. It would perish in ninety days if those hopes should cease. 1 have never for a moment believed that auch a recognition could take place without producing immediately a war between the United States and all the recognizing Powers. I have not supposed it poMible that the British gov ernment could fail to see this, and at the same time I have sincerely believed the British govern ment must, in Its inmost heart, be as averse from mcb a war as I know this government fa. I am sure that this government has carefully avoided giving any cause of oiTcucc or irritation to Great Britain. But it has seemed to me that the Britiah government has been inattentive to the currents that seem to bo bringing the two coun tries into collision. * * * I infer from Lord Palnierston's remark that the British government is now awake to the import ance of averting possible conflict, and disposed to confer and act with earnestness to that end. If so, ] we are disposed to meet them in the same spirit , as a nation chiefly of British lineage, sentiments and sympathies^-a civilized and humsne nation, a Christian people. Since that conversation was held ('upturn Wilkes, in the steamer Ban Jacinto, has boarded a British colonial steamer, and taken from her deck two in surgents who were proceeding to Europe on an errand of treason against their own coun ty- This is a new incident, unknown to, and unforeseen, at least in its circumstances, by Lord ralmcrston. It is to be met and disposed of by tho two governments, if possible, in the spirit to which I have adverted. Lord Lyons has prudently refrained from opening the subject to me, as, 1 presume, waiting instructions from home. We have done nothing on the subject to anticipate the discus sion, and we have not furnished you with any ex planations. We adhere to that course now, be cause wc think it more prudent that the ground taken by the British government should be first made known to us here, ami that the discussion, if there must be one, shall be had here. It is proper, however, that you should know one fact in the ease, without indicating that we attach importance to it? namely, that in the capture of Messrs. Mason and Slidcll 011 board a British vessel, Captain Wilkes having acted with out any instructions from the government, the sub ject is therefore free from the embarrassment which might have resulted if the act bad been specially directed by us. I trust that the British government will consider the subject in a friendly temper, apd it may expect the best, dlsptbdtfon on the part of this govern uient. Although this is a cuntidentlal note, 1 shall not object to your reading It to Earl Hit --ell and Lord Falmcrston If you deem it expedient. I am, sir, your obedient servant, WILLIAM 51. SKWAK1). Kurt Kusat-Il (,> |,oi?t Lj oils. Fouxtojj Ori'iCH, Nov. HO, Mil. Tun Lord Lyons, K. C. 11., My Loan- -Intelligence of a very grave nature has reached her Majesty's government. 'J his Intelligence was conveyed officially to the knowledge of tho Admiralty by Commander Wil Hams, agent for ntails on board the contrnct steam er Trent. It appears, from the letter of Commander Wil iamn, dated "Boyal Mi il Contract PacketTrcnt, at ??fl,Nov'nh?r9,"th?f the Trent left Havana on the 7th inst., with her Majesty's mails for England, having on board numerous passengers. Com mander Williams states that shortly after noon on the 8tli, a steamer, having the appearance of a man-of-war, but not showing colors, was observed ahead. On ueariug her, at fifteen minutes past one P. M., she fired a round shot from her pivot gun across the bows of the Trent, and showed American colors. While the Trent was approaching lier slowly ihe American vessel dis charged a shell across the bows of the Trent, exploding half a cable's length ahead of her. The Trent then stopped, and nn officer with a large armed guard of marines boarded her. The officer demanded a list of the passengers; and, compliance with this demand being re fused, the officer said he had orders to arrest Messrs. Mason, Slidell, MacFarland and Rus tle, and that he had sure information of their being passengers in the Trent. While some parley was going on upon this matter, Mr. Slide)] stepped for ward and told the American officer that the four rersons he had named were then standing before hiin. The commander of the Trent and Comman der Williams protested against the act of taking by force out of the Trent these four passengers, then under the protection of the ltritish flag. But the San Jacinto was at that time only two hun dred yards from the Trent, her ship's company at quarters, her ports open and tonrptous out. Re sistance was therefore out of the question, and the four gentlemen before named were forcibly taken out of the ship. A fur ther demand was made that the commander of the Trent should proceed on board the San Ja cinto; but he said lie would not go unless forcibly compelled likewise, and this demand una not in sisted upon. It thus appears that certain individuals have been forcibly taken from on board a British vessel, the ship of a neutral Power, while such vessel was pursuing a lawfnl and innocent voyage?an act of violence which was an affront to the British tlag and a violation of international law. Her Majesty's government, hearing in mind the friendly relations which have long subsisted be tween Ureat Britain and the United States, are willing to believe that the United States naval offi cer who committed the aggression was not acting in compliance witli any authority from his government, or that, if lie conceived him. self to be so authorized, he greatly niisun derstood the instructions which ho had received. For the government of the United States must be fully aware that the British government could | not allow such an affront to the national honor to ' pass without full reparation, and her Majesty's government are unwilling to believe that it could j be the deliberate intention of the government of the United States unnecessarily to force into dis cussion between the two governments a question of so grave a character, and with regard to which the whole British nation would he sure to entertain such unanimity of feeliug. Her Majesty's government, therefore, trust that when this matter shall have been brought under the consideration of the government of the United States, that government will, of its own accord, offer to the British government such redress us alone could satisfy the British nation, namely:? The liberation of the tour gentlemen and their delivery to your lordship, in order that they may again be placed under British protection, and a suitable apology for the aggression which has been committed. Should these terras not be offered by Mr. Seward, you will propose them to him. You arc at libcily to read this despatch to the Secretary of State, and if lie shall desire it you will give him a copy of it. T nm,&c., RUSSE1J,. Mr< Scwnril to Lord Lyon*. Department of State. I Washinuton, Dec.26, 18?>1. f Tee Umbt Hok. Lord Lyons, Ac., Ac., ? I My Loiu>~Earl Russell's despatch of November j the 30th, a copy of which you have left with me, at my request, is of the following effect, namely:? ! That a letter of Commander Williams, dated j Royal Mail Contract packet boat Trent, at sea, ] November 9, states that that vessel left ITavana i on the 7th of November, with her Majesty's mails J for England, having onboard numerous passen ! gers. Shortly after uoou on the 8th of ! November, the United States war steam* j er San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes, not showing colors, was observed ahead. That steam ; er, on being lies red by the Trent, at a quarter past one o'clock in the afternoon, fired a round shot from a pivot gnu across her bows, and showed American colors. While the Trent was approach ing slowly towards the San Jacinto she discharged a shell across the Trent's bows, which ex ploded at half a cable's length before her. The I Trent then stopped, and an officer, with 1 a large armed guard of marines, boarded her. The officer -aid he had orders to arrest Messrs. Mason, slidell, MacFarland and Kuatls, and luid sure information that they were passen. govs in the Trent. While some parley was going j on upon this matter Mr. Slidell stepped forward and -aid to the American officer lhat the four per sons he had named were standing before him. The ? commander of the Trent and Commander Williams j protested against the act of taking those four pas sengers out of the Trent, they then being un der the prot"ct;on 0f the British Dag. Rut th< snn Jacitx" >? i* ut this time only two hun dred yards distant , la . -lop's company at quarters, . her porUdpen, and t< ? j i'n? out,and so resist* | ane< was out of tl ? qu silon. The four persons before named were then forcibly taken out of the ship. A farther demand was made that the com mander of the Trent i.oald proceed on board the San Jacinto; but ho r aid he would not go unless forcibly compelled III: wise, and this demand was not insisted upon. Upon this statement Karl Russell remarks that it thus appears that certain individuals ha\e been forcibly taken , from on board a British vessel, the ship I of a neutral l'ower, while thai v< tsel was pursuing 8 c ami innocent voytrc an act of violence which was an affront to the British flag, and a vio lation of international law. Earl Russell next says that her Majesty's govern ment, hearing in mind the friendly relations which have long subsisted between Great Britain and the United States, are willing to believe that the naval officer who commuted this aggression was not act iug in compliance with any authority from his government, or that, If he conceived himself to be so authorized, he greatly misunderstood the in structions which he had received. Earl Russell argues that the United States must be fully aware that the British government could not allow such an affVont to the national honor to pass w ithont full reparation, and they ore willing to believe that it could not bo the deliberate in tention of the government of the 1'nited States un necessarily to force into discussion between the two governments a question of so grave a charac ter, and with regard to which the whole British nation would he sure to entertain such unanimity of feeling. Earl Russell, resting upon the statement ami the argument which I have thus recited, closes with saying that her Majesty"s?governruent trust that when this matter shall have been brought under the consideration of the government of the United States, it will, of its own accord, offer to the British government such redress as alone could satisfy the British nation, namely:-- The liberation of the tour prisoners taken from the Trent, and their delivery to your lordship, in order that they may again be placed under British protec tion, and a suitable apology for the aggression which has been committed. Earl Russell Anally instructs you to propose those terms to me, if I should not first offer them on the part of the gov ernment. This despatch has been submitted to the Presi dent. The British government has rightly conjectured, what it is mow my duty to state, that Captain Wilkes, in conceiving and executing the proceed ing in question, acted upon his own suggestions of duty, without any direction or instruction, or even foreknowledge of it, on the part of this govern ment. Xo directions had been given to him or any other naval officer to an est the four persons named, orany of them, on the Trent,or on any other Brit i~li vessel, or on any other neutral vessel, at tlm place where it occurred or elsewhere. The British government will justly infer from these facts that the United States not only have hud no purpose, but even no thought, of forcing into discussion the question which has avisen,or any other which could affect In any way the sensi bilities of the British nation. it is true that a round shot was fired by the San Jaciuto from her pivot gun, when the Trent was distantly approaching. But, as the facts have been reported to this govern ment, the shot was nevertheless intuntioually Urcd in a direction so obviously divergent from the course of the Trent as to be quite its harmless as a blank shot, while it should be re garded as a signal. Bo, also, we learn that the Trent was not approaching the Has Jacinto slowly when the shell was tired across her bows; but, on the contrary, the Trent was, or seemed to be, J* moving under a full head of steam, as if with a purpose to pass the San Jacinto. We arc informed also that the boarding officer (Lieutenant Fairfax) did not board the Trent with a large armed guard, but he left his marines in the boat when ho entered the Treut. lie. gtutcd his instructions from Captain Wilkes, to search for the four persons named, in a respectful and courteous though decided manner, and he nsked the captain of the Trent to show his passenger list, which was refused. The Lieutenant, as we are informed, did not employ absolute force in transferring the pas sengers; but be used just so much as was necessary to satisfy the parties concerned that refusal or re sistance would be unavailing. Ho also, wo are informed, that the captain of the Trent was not at any time, or in any way, required to go on board the San Jacinto. These modifications of the case, as presented by Commander Williams, are based npon our official reports. T have now to remind your lordship of some facta which doubtless were omitted by Earl Russell, with the very proper and becoming motive of allowing them to be brought into the case on tho part of the Un ted States, in the way moBt satisfactory to this government. These facts are, that at the time the transaction occurred an insurrec tion was existing in the United States, which this government was engaged in suppressing by the employment of land and naval forces; that, in regard to this domestic strife, tho United States considered Great Britain as a friendly Power, while -he had assumed for herself the attitude of a neutral; and that Spain was considered in the same light, and had assumed the same attitude as Groat Britain. It had been settled by correspondence that the United States and Great Britain mutually recog nized as applicable to this local strife these two ar ticles of the declaration made by the Congress of Paris in lfc.iG?namely, that the neutral or friendly flag shouM cover enemy's goods, not contraband of ! war, and that neutral goods, not contraband of I war, ore not liable to capture under on enemy's I flag. The c exceptions of contraband from favor ! wo e a negative acceptance by the parties of the ' rub hitherto everywhere recognized a- a part of J the law <>t' nations, that whatever is contraband | is liable to capture and oonfiscation in all cases. JaniesM. Mason and E. J.Mai Farland are cltiaens of the United Slates and re-idents of Virginia. John Slide!! and G< ? rge Eustis arc ili/ons of the United States and residents of Louisiana. It well known at Havana, when these par ties embarked in the Trent, that James M. Mason was proceeding to England in the affected cha racter of a Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court o/ St. James, under a pretended commission from J< Hereon Davis, who had assumed to be President of tho insurrectionary parly in the United states, and R. J. MacFarl.md was going with him in a like unreal character of Secretary of Legation to the pretended mission. John Slidell, in similar circumstances, was going to Paris as u pretended Minister to the Kmperor of the French, and George Kustis was tho ? hoscn Secretary of Legation for that simulated mission. The fact that these persons had assumed sm li characters has been since avowed by the same Jefferson Davis in n pretended message to an un lawful and insurrectionary Congress. It was, us w< ilc, rightly presumed that these ministers bore

pretended credentials and instructions, and such papers arc in the law known as despatches. We are informed by our Consul at Paris tliut these des patches, having eseap-cd the search of the Trent, were actually conveyed and delivered to emissaries of tire insurrection in Kngland. Although it is not essential, yet it is proper to state, as 1 do also upon information and belief, that the owner and agent , and all the officers of tho Trent, including the Commander Williams, had knowledge of the assumed characters and pur poses of the persons beforenamcd when they embarked on that vessel. Your lordship will now perceive that the cr.se before us, instead of presenting a merely tlngraut act of v iolcucc on the part of C'apt. Wilkes, as might well be iuferrcd from the incomplete statement of it that went up to the British government, was undertaken an a simple, legal and customary belli, gerent proceeding by Captain Wilkea to arrest and capture a neutral vessel engaged in carrying con traband of war for the use and benefit of the in surgents. The question before its is, whether this proceed ing was authorized by, and conducted according to, the law of nations? It involves the following inquiries :? 1. Were the persons named and their supposed despatches contraband of war? 2. Might Captain Wilkes lawfully stop and search the Trent for these contraband persons and despatches? 3. Did he exercise that right in a lawful and proper manner? 4. Having found the contraband persons on board, and in presumed possession of the contra band despatches, had he a right to capture the persons ? 6. Did lie, exercise that right of capture in the manner allowed and recognized by tbc law of nations? If all these inquiries shall be resolved in ibe affirmative, the British go^vnmcnt will have no claim for reparation. I address myself to the first inquiry, namely:? Were the four persons mentioned and their sup posed despatches contraband ? Maritime law so generally deals, as its profes sors say, in rem, that is, with property, and so seldom with persons, that it seems a straining of the term contraband to apply it to them. Bat ^crsoqs as well a? property may become contra band, since tlm wprd means, broadly,'' contrary to proclamation, p*>hibitcd, illegal, unlawful." All writers and Judges pronounce naval or military persons in the aervice of the enemy contrabands Vattel says:?"War allows us to cut off from an enemy all Ids resources and to Under him from sending ministers to solicit assistance;'1 and Sir William Scott says:?"You may slop the ambassador of yonr enemy on his passage. Despatches arc not less clearly contraband, and the bearers or couriers who un dcrtnkc to carry them fall under the same con demnation." A subtlety might be rawed whether pretended miuisterH of a usurping Power, not recognized as legal by either the belligerent or the neutrul, could be held to be contraband. Rut it would disappear on being subjected to what is the true test in all cases?namely, the spirit of the law. Sir William Scott,, speak ing of civil magistrates who were arrested land detained as contraband, says:?"It ap pears to me on principle to be but reasonable that when it is of sufficient importance to the ene my that such persons should bo sent out on the public service, at the public expense, it should af ford equal ground of forfeiture against the vessel that may be let ont for a purpose so intimately connected with the hostile operations.'' 1 trust ihat I have shown that the four persons who were taken from the Trent by Captain Wilkes, and their despatches, were contraband of war. Tbc second inquiry is, whether Captain Wilkes J had a right, by (he law of nations, to detain ami search the Trent? The Trent, though she carried mails, was a con tract or merchant vessel, a common carrier for hire. Maritime law knows only three classes of vessels?vewels-ofrwar, rcvonoe vessels and iner- j chant vessels. The Trent falls within the latter | class. Whatever disputes ha- e existed concerning i a right of visitation or search in time : of peace, none, it is supposed, bas existed in modern times about the right of a belligerent in time of war to capture < ontrabnnd In neutral and ; even friendly merchant vessels, and of ihe right of visitation and search, in order to determine whether they are neutral and are documented as such ac ordiug to the law of nations. 1 siDiiio in the present case what, as I read British authorities, j is regarded by Great Britain herself aa j true maritime aw that the circumstance that the Trent was proceeding from one neutral port to another ncutral'port does not niodiry the right of the belligerent captor. The third question is, whetiu r Captain Wilk's exercised the right of search in a law ful and proper manner? If any doubt bung over this point, as the sace was presented >n the statement of it ! adopted by tho British government, I think it must have already passed away before the modifications of that statement which I have already submitted. I proceed to the fourth inquiry?namely, having found she suspeclcd coutrabaiul of war on board thc Trent, had Captain Wilkes a right to capture the sumo? Huch a capture is the chief, if not ihfi f"l" e" 'Ofoljred object offfie permitted v l?ita tion and search. The i>r!ncij>le of the law is that the belligerent exposed to danger may prevent the contraband persona or things from applying them selves or being applied to the hostile usee or pur poses designed. The law is so very liberal in this respect that when contraband is found on board a neutral vessel, not only is the contraband forfeited, but the vessel which is the vehicle of its passage or transportation, being tainted, also becomes contraband, and is subjected to capture and con fiscation. Only the fifth question remains, namely?Did < upturn Wilkes exercise the right of capturing the contraband iu conformity with the law of nations? It Is Just hero that the difficulties of the ease bo. gin: What is the manner which the law of nations prescribes for disposing of the contraband when you have found and seized it on board of the neu tral vessel? The answer would be easily found If the ques. tion were, what you shall do with the contraband vessel? You must take or send her into a conve nient port and subject her to a judicial prosecu tion there iu admiralty, which will try and decide the questions of belligerency, neutrality, contra band and capture. 80, again, you will promptly find the same answer if the question were, what is the manner of proceeding prescribed by the law or nations in regard to the contraband, if it be property or things of material or pecuniary value? But the question here concerns the mode of pro cedure in regard, not to the vessel that was carry ing the contraband, nor yet to contraband things which worked the forfeiture of the vessel, but to contraband persons. The books of law are dumb. Yet the question is as important as it is difficult. First, tie belligerent captor has a light to prevent the contraband officer, soldier, sailor, minister, messenger or courier from proceeding in his un lawful voyage, and reaching the destined scene of his injurious service. But, on the other hand, the person captured may be innocent; that is, he may not be contraband. He therefore has a right to a fair trial of the ac cusation against him. The neutral Slate that bus taken him under its flag is bound to pro tect him if he is not contrcbaml, and is (herefore entitled to be satisfied upon that important ques tion. The faith of that Hiatc is pledged to his safety if innocent, as its justice is pledged to his surrender if lie is really contraband. Here arc conflicting claims, involving personal liberty, life, honor and duty. Here arc conflicting national claims, involving welfare, safety, honor and empire. They require a tribunal und a trial. The cantors and the captured arc equals, the neu tral and the belligerent State arc equals. While the law authorities were found silent, it was suggested at an early day by Ibis government 1 that you should take the captured persons into ? oonvomViit port, and institute judicial proceedings there to tiy tbe controversy. But only court* of admiralty have jurisdiction in maritime cases, and these courts have formnhis to try only claims to contraband chattels, but tone to try claims con cerning contraband persons. The courts can en tertain no proceedings and render no judgment in favor of or against the alleged contraband men. It was replied, all this is true; but you can reach in those courts a deci siou which will have the moral weight of a judicial one; by a circuitous proceeding convey tbe suspected men, together with the sus pected vessel, into port, and try there the question whether the vessel is contraband. Yon can prove it to be so by proving the suspected men to be contraband, and tbe court must then determine the vessel to be contraband. If llic men are not contraband the vessel will es cape condemnation. Still there is no judgment for or nguinst the captured person*. Hut it wa> as sumed that there would result li om the determina tion of the court concerning the vessel a legal cir tainty concerning the character of the men. This course of proceeding seemed open to many objec- \ (ions. It elevates the incidental inferior private in terest into the proper place of the main pannount 1 public ouc, and possibly it tr.a> make the , fortune?, the safety or the existence of j a nation depend on the accidents of a merely personal and pecuniary litigation. More over, when the judgment of the prize court upon the lawfulness of the capture of the vessels is ren dered, it really concludes nothing arid hinds neither j the belligerent State nor the neutral upon the great question of the disposition to bo made of tire cap tured contraband persons. That question is still to bo really determined, if at all, by diplomatic ar rangement or by war. One may well express | his surprise when told that the law of nations has i furnished no more reasonable, practical and per- ; feet mode than this of determining questions of ! such grave import between sovereign Powers. The regret wo may feel on the occasion is, 1 nevertheless, mo liflod by the reflection that i | the difficulty is not altogether anomalous. Similar and equal deticiencie arc found in every ' system of municipal law, especially in the system i which exists In the greatei portions of Great I Britain and the United States. The title to personai property can hardly ever be re* | solved by a court without resorting to i the llctiou that the claimant bus lost and the | 1 pos.' sor has found it; and the title to real estate ' is disputed by real litigants aider the names of I imaginary persons. It must bo confessed, how* i ^ver, that, while all aggrieved nations demand, and all impartial ones concede, the need of some form of judicial process in determining the charu ? ters of contraband persons, no other form than the illogical and circuitous one thus described exists, nor has any other yet been suggested. Practically, therefore, tho choice is between that judicial remedy or no judicial remedy whatever. if there be no judicial remedy, the result is that the question must be determined by the captor himself on the deck of the prize vessel. Vory grave objections arise against loch a course. The captor '' 1 rmed?the iKnfrnl is unarmed The captor is interested, prejudiced and perhaps vio lent?the neutral, if truly neutral, is disinterested, subdued and helpless. The tribunal is Irresponsi ble, while its judgment Is carried into instant execution. The captured party is com pelled to submit, though bound by no legal, moral or treaty obligation to ac quiesce. Reparation is distant and problemati cal, and depends at lu?t on the justice, rangnani. mity or weakness of the State in whose behalf aud by whose authority the capture was made. Out of these disputes reprisals and wars necessa rily arise, and these are so frequent, and destructive that it may well be doubted whether this form of remedy is not a greater social evil than all that could follow if the belligerent right of search were uni versally renounced aud abolished forever. But carry the case one step farther:?What if the .State that has made the capture unreasonably re. ftaae to hear the complaint of the nentral, or to re dress it ' In that case the very act of capture would be an act of war ?of war begun without notice?and possibly entirely without provocation. 1 think all unprejudiced minds will agree that imperfect as the existing judicial remedy maybe supposed to be, it would be, as a general practice, better to follow it tbau to adopt the summary one of leaving the decision with the captor and relying upon diplomatic debutes to review his decision. Practically it is a question of choice betweeu law with its imperfections aud delays, and war, with its evils and desolations. Nor in it ever to be forgotten that neutrality, hot ontty Hud justly preserved, is always the harbinger of peace, and therefore is the conuuon interest of nations, which is only saying that it is the inter est of humanity itself. At the same time it is not to be denied that it may sometimes happen that tho judicial remedy will become impossible?as by the shipwreck of the prize vessel, or other circumstances which ex cuse the captor from sending or taking her intu port for confiscation. In such a case the right of the captor to the custody of the captured persons, and to dispose of them, if they are really contra band, so as to defeat their unlawful purposes, cannot reasonably be denied. What rule shall be applied in such a case? Clear ly the captor ought to be required to r how thai the failure of the judicial remedy results from cir cumstances beyond his control, and without bif fault. Otherwise he woubl be allowed to derive advantage fl ora a wrongful act of his own. In the present case Captain Wilkes, after capturing the contraband persons and making prize of the Trent, in what seems to us a perfectly lawful manner, instead of sending her into port, released her from the capture, and permitted her to proceed with her whole cargo upon her voyage. Ho thus ef fectually prevented the judicial examination which niight otherwise have occurred. If now the cap ture of tho oootraband persons, and the capture oi tho cuntratMMd < esse!. m* to be regarded, not at two separable or distinct transactions under the law of nations, but as ono transaction one cap ture only?Hi< p it follow that the capture in this case was left unfinished or was abandoned IV bethel* the i nil ?;<! Mates have a right to retain the chief public bow .'its <>/ it namely, the custody of the captured per ? .n- on proving Una to be contraband, will d<peiid upon the preliminary question whether the leaving of the transaction un finished was necessary, o? whether it was uuni-ee* stiry, and thcr< fore v?'ho tniy. If it u as ni ce :>aty (treat Britain, as wo oppose, iraie ' e, << ,?c waive the defect, and tin consequent failue of the judical remedy. Untie-other hand, it ia not seen how the Tinted -iai- i an insist upon bet walvei of that Judi ial remedy, if the. defect of the cap ture resulted from an act of Captain MiHtes, whH would t?e a :un!t on their own aide. Captain Wilkc has presented to this got< rtucenl hir. reasons for r> leading tin.- Trent. ??1 fore bore to seize her,"' he say.?, "in eon.se ijueaco of my being ?<> reduced in officer* ??d crew, and the deraugcinent it wonld cause fnno cent persona, there being a largo number of pas sengers who would have been put to great lost and inconvenience, as trell us disappointment, from the interruption it would have caused them in not being able to join the steamer from St. Thomas to Europe. I therefore concluded to sacrifice tiro interests of my officers ami c.ruw in the prise, and suffered her to proceed after the detention necessary to effect the transfer oI those commissioners, considering I had obtained the important end i had in view, and which aflbct ed tlu: interests of onr country and intcrrnpte 1 the action of that of the Confederates." I shall consider, first, how these reasons ought to affect the action of this government; and, second ly, how they ought to be expected to affect tho action of drcat Britain. The reasons are satisfac tory to this government so far as Captain Wilkca is concerned. It could not desire that the Han Jacinto, her offic rs and crow should be exp >sed to danger and loss by weakening their number to detach a prize crew to go on board th? Trent. Still less could it disavow the humane motive of preventing inconveniences, losses, and perhaps disasters, to the acveral*httBdred innocent pas-et gers found on board the prize vessel. Nor could this government pcrccivo any ground lor questioning the fact that tlic.se reasons, though apparently incongruous, did operate in the mind of t'aptain Wilkes, and determined him to release the Trent. Human actions generally proceed upon mingled snd sometimes conflicting motives. Wo mea-ored tho sacriliccs wltich this decision would cost, ft manifestly, however, did not occur to hin? that, beyond tho sacrifice of tho private interests (as he cnils them) of his officers and crew, there might also possibly bo a sacrifice even of tho chief and public object of his capture-namely, tho right of his government to the enstody and disposition of the captured per son*. This government cannot ensure him for this oversight. Tt confesto* tliat tho whole subject lOvnvfT" ov rami page.]

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