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SIR: Mr. Gregg, our consul at Kingston, Jamaica, more than a year ago,
reported to this department that John Willis Menard, a colored citizen of the .
United States, residentin the parish of St. Davids, Jamaica, was, on or about the 27th of October, 1865, arrested without warrant or complaint under oath. by the civil authorities of that island, in a district ‘not under martial law ; was conveyed into a portion of the county ‘of Surry then under martial law; was detained in close imprisonment, no charges being exhibited against him; and was, 011 the 4th of November, banished from the island, without trial, by an order of the governor.
The consul reports that upon investigation he can find no evidence of any oflence committed by Mr. Menard, nor any reasonable ground for suspicion that he was implicated in any illegal transactions or purposes He was obliged to leave behind a wife in destitute circumstances, who shortly afterwards was
-delivered of a child, and whom he was not permitted to visit. The consul was
obliged to provide for his transportation to the United States, in order to relieve him from prison. .
You will communicate to her Majesty’s government a statement of thecase, as it has been presented to us, and request an investigation, with a view, in the event of its accuracy, to such reparation as may be just.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, ' - " WILLIAM H. SEWARD. CHARLES FRANCIS Ansms, Esq., ¢§~c., ¢§c., <§~c.
No. 1889.] . DEPARTMENT or STATE, Washington, December 14, 1866.
SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch of the 1st instant, No. 1282.
Some matters connected with the suit against Prioleau & Co. are under consideration, which render it inconvenient to send further instructions by this mail in respect to the return of Mr. Morse.
The view you have taken of the instruc_tions to Mr. Morse, which he exhibited as authority in the settlement of the Priolcau cotton suits, was entirely correct. They had no reference to any suit then pending, and this fact would have been more clearly apparent by a perusal of the letter of Mr. Morse, referred to in the instructions, in which he sought the authority which was given to him.
The answer to the cross-bill in the cotton suit is in preparation, but it is found
impossible to complete it for this mail. We expect to send it by the steamer of next Wednesday.
Sm: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch of the 8th of December, No. 1288. It is accompanied by a statement which Lord Stanley made to you on the 7th instant. (This date of the statement is inferred from your despatch.) The statement shows that this governmentwould be furnished with copies of the records in the trial of Lynch and McMahon, who have been lately convicted, and that like copies of records would be supplied in future cases. The statement, however, declares that her Majesty's government, in consenting that these copies of records shall be furnished, do not accede tomy application for them on the ground of absolute right. The statement also expresses the views of her Ma_jesty’s government in regard to the policy of leniency in the cases of political convictions. '
The United States have no disposition to .find an occasion for difference with her Majesty’s government in either of the matters thus referred to. In point of fact, copies of the records have been and are being received from the Canadian authorities. and the rigorous course of the law has been already stayed by a respite of the convicted persons from execution. It is much more pleasant to us to express a. high appreciation of these proceedings on the part of her Majesty’s_ government than it would be to raise complaints upon any merely abstract questions which could arise out of the transactions themselves. ‘
It is important to understand clearly the ground which the United States‘ assumed when asking for the records referred to. It appears that, in the indictment upon which the parties named were tried, it was expressly charged, as a material and integral portion of their crimes, that the accused were citizens of the United States, and that their offences were committed in that character. This government, in such a special case, where citizenship of the United States constitutes a material element of a conviction, thinks itself entitled and obliged by international law to review the proceeding in all its parts, and to ask from her Majesty's government a full and perfect exhibition of all the proceedings which
‘resulted in capital conviction.
1‘ have stated the point thus distinctly for the reason that in the criticisms which have been made abroad, upon the application for the records, it seemed to be assumed that citizenship of the United States did not enter at all into the allegations of guilt against the accused.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
No. 1895.] DEPARTMEi\I'l‘ or STATE, ' Washington, December 24, 1866.
SIR: I have to inform you that Isaac F. Redfield, es'q., late chief justice of Maine, has been selected to visit England as counsel for the government in the matter of recovering funds and other property-of the late rebel organization. He is now here engaged in his preparations and expects to sail in the steamer of the 2d of January. It is desirable that this information shall be confidential until such time as you may think proper after having had an interview with Mr. Redfield. '
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
SIR: _In connection with the subject of your despatch No. 1889, of the 14th of December, I have only to observe that from the decision of Vice-Chancellor Wood, a copy of which has doubtless been transmitted to you by the consul at Liverpool, you will perceive the necessity of taking early measures to prevent; Mr. Prioleau from becoming an object of public sympathy in the courts, as unreasonably oppressed by litigation procrastinated on purpose by a powerful government. The vice-chancellor is well known to me as having had sympathies with us during the war, which makes his present declaration the more significant.
My own impression is that an advantageous settlement might now be made with all the parties concerned in this suit should an agent well qualified for the duty be sent out. ' Never having had much confidence in the courts here in cases in which a government of a foreign nation is a party against British subjects, the alternative appears to be the payment of heavy costs to both sides, or an agreement which may save Mr. Prioleau from the risk of ruin on the condition of a frank and full exposition of the truth. I think he has it in his power
‘to restore all the property remaining unclaimed in Europe. The error of Mr.
Morse appears to have been an unaccountable degree of precipitation, and over,
~ reliance in the good faith of those with whom he was dealing. From the little
observation I have had of them, I should think that much acuteness and little scruple were their prominent traits. The disclosures incidentally taking place in the courts through the bankruptcy of Barned’s bank furnish some clue to the extent of the -speculations carried on during the war, and to the sympathies so strongly felt in Liverpool with the rebel cause. I have reason to suspect that Mr. Benjamin is now one of the chief legal advisers of the parties in the suits. All that his ingenuity can do will be exerted, if necessary, to procrastinate and to defeat the course of justice. This will not, however, be practicable without great hazard to the mercantile credit of the house of Fraser, 'l‘renholm & Co, Hence the dilemma of which it may be possible to take advantage at this moment.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant, . . CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, '
Secretary of State, lVas71.ingt0n, D. G.
No. 1297.] ' LEGATION or THE UNITED STATES, London, January 2, 1867.
SIR : At the particular request of Mr. Morse, I transmit herewith a statement made by him in answer to the extraordinary deposition of Mr. Hull, constituting a part of the proceedings in the suit with Mr. Prioleau. The more obvious and proper course would seem to have been to prepare a deposition to be used, if necessary, in a later stage of the case itself. I have taken the liberty to suggest this to Mr. Morse, in order that his statement may be as fully accessible on‘ the record; as Mr. Hull’s, to which it replies.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant, . , CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. Hon. WILLIAM H; SEWARD, Secretary of State, Wasizipgton, D. C.
SIR : Your kind favor of yesterday has just reached me, for which I am greatly obliged.
The copy of Mr. Hull’s affidavit, by which it is accompanied, I had never before seen, nor was I aware that he had made an uflidavit of such a character. It certainly has greatly surprised me. It is not true that I took the first steps to obtain an interview with Mr. Prioleau, or that I in any manner solicited the interview. I made no advances whatever in such a. direction. Prior to receiving Mr. Prioleau’s request for an intervieig I had had several interviews with Mr. Henry Lafone, and had engaged him in the service of the United States to aid in discovering and securing to said States confederate property in England.
On the afternoon of Friday, the 2d of November, Mr. Lafone came into the consulate and said he was authorized by Mr. Prioleau to say to me that if I would meet him as one gentleman should meet another, he would like to have an interview with me, and see if some just terms of settlement could not he arrived at. If not literally correct, this is substantially the language that was used. Such a message from such a quarter was by me entirely unex
ected, and rather took me by surprise, and I at once inquired what had brou ht Mr. Prioeau to a desire for a settlement. Mr. Lafone replied that he knew a great dea about Prioleau’s transactions with the confederacy, and could seriously injure him, but that they had been and were friends, and, on reflection, he could not make up his mind to operate against him in the dark; that it would not be honorable for him to do so, &c. ; and therefore he went to Mr. Prioleau and told him his position and what he intended to do. He said Mr. Prioleau was otfended, and aid to him, “ Have you turned traitor?” After further conversation in a similar vein, Brio ean asked or said, “ In such a state of things, with you against me, what
am I to do?" Mr. Lafone replied, “ You had better brin the whole matter to a close, secure '
your lawful claims against the property held by you, and and what is left over to the United States.” Prioleau said, in reply, that he could not meet any United States oflicer without
subjecting himself to harsh treatment, or words to this etfect. Mr. Lafone told him that if '
he met me I would treat him civilly, and as one gentleman should treat another. He then left, advising Mr. Prioleau to reflect well before he decided. Mr. Lafone said the next day Mr. Prioleau called at his oflice and said he had been thinking over the subject of their conversation of the day before, and had, after considering all the circumstances connected with
' the case, concluded to act on his advice, and he had come to London to see'if I would con
sent to meet Mr. Prioleau.
Such were the preliminary steps whichbrought about the meeting with Mr. Prioleau, given in detail as they succeeded one another; and to the facts as above stated I am willing to make oath. .
Mr. Gibbs was not in London at the time, and did not know that a meeting with Mr. Prioleau had been arranged until his arrival in London, on the morning of Monday, the 4th, at my request, communicated to him by telegraph.
As to what Mr. Hull declares about the scope of my authority to act, I can only say, that I put no construction on it. My presence there was perhaps a sufficient indication of how it was viewed by me. The papers were carefully examined by Mr. Prioleau’s counsel, and were considered satisfactory. I did say, however, that in case we entered into an arrangement which would be 'ust to the United States, and properly guard her interests in the matters to be acted upon, thought you would readily sanction it. _
I cannot command language sufliciently strong to express my great regret and pain at the many unlooked-for misunderstandings and misrepresentations of that unfortunate attempt to do what I firmly believed would prove to be for the honor and best interests of our country, without injury or disrespect to any one.
With sincere thanks for calling my attention to the subject, I remain your obedient servant,
F. H. MORSE, Consul. - Hon. Cusnuzs FRANCIS ADAMS, United States Minister.
SIR: I enclose herewith to you a copy of a letter of the 27th ultimo from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, from which it appears that that department having revoked certain powers heretofore conferred upou Mr. Morse, our consul at London, it is desirable that you should designate some suitable per
son to take charge _and- dispose of any unfinished business pertaining to the authorization above indicated, now remaining in the hands of Mr. Morse. I would suggest Mr. Dudley, United States consul at Liverpool, as a proper person to succeed Mr. Morse should there be no objection on your part to such selection.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
SIR: I have the honor to enclose herewith a letter to F. H. Morse, esq., United States consul at London, bearing even date herewith, which revokes certain authority heretofore conferred upon that gentleman by this department, and which I will thank you to cause to be transmitted to him, after perusing the same.
I have also the honor to request that you will instruct Mr. Adams, United States minister at London, to designate some suitable persons to take charge and dispose of any unfinished
‘business, growing out of the authority heretofore conferred upon him, which may still remain
in Mr. Morse’s hands.
VVith great respect, your obedient servant,
- _ WM. E. CHANDLER, Acting Secretary of the Treasury. Hon. WILLIAM H. Sswarm,
Secretary of State.
Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
No.1299.] LEGATION or THE UNITED STATES,
SIR: I have the honor to transmit a. copy of the London Times of the 4th instant, on account of the leading article on the disputed questions between the two countries. I think the disposition there indicated is becoming general enough in the governing classes to sanction any course which the ministry would be likely to take to effect a settlement of them.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. WILLIAM H. sE\VARD,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
[From the London Times, January 4, 1867.]
There is but one cloud on the horizon of our foreign policy at the opening of this new year, and that cloud is not so threatening but that it may be dispersed by avery moderate effort of diplomatic skill. We are not only at eace, but on amicable, if not cordial, terms with all the continental powers. Not the shadlbw of a misunderstanding exists between ourselves and the French government, and the German war has given a new direction to any military ambition which may linger among the French people. The infatuation which led Austria to reiect -the proposal of a conference on the German and Italian questions saved us from the danger of becoming involved in either, and we have since maintained the most friendly relations with all three belligerents. All is quiet at St. Petersburg and Constantinople, in spite of the insurrection in Candia; and if the eastern question is destined to be solved this year, there is every reason to hope that it will be solved peaceably. It is long since the foreign office has had less cause of anxiety about European affairs, and though many regret the supposed loss of our ancient prestige by persistent non-intervention,the influence of England for any good purpose is probably as great as ever. The only nation which, so far as we know, harbors any grudge against us is that which of all others and for every reason we should