Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.
* * * * A despatch from the English government to its representative here, Lord Howard De Walden, states that Messrs. Mason and Slidell have been given up. Should this prove to be the case, the effect will be highly favorable to us in continental Europe. The eagerness with which the different powers have hastened to put us in the wrong and England in the right, the desire evinced that we should not defend English law, but yield, shows, if not a lively interest in the preservation of the Union as a counterpoise, at least a lively jealousy at the increase of British influence, the augmentation of whose power they wish to thwart. I observe that in all their notes they make a point of avoiding an expression of opinion, on the legal question, because they know the seizure was in conformity with the principle of law, as declared and practiced by Great Britain and submitted to by all others, though the principle has always been opposed or reluctantly yielded by the continental powers and ourselves. They now unanimously reassert the true doctrine, which, as before said, puts England in the right and us in the wrong, in this case, and I cannot doubt that the result will be valuable as forcing England to abandon definitely her old position touching belligerent rights; and the evidence of jealousy and feeling of other powers, as ready to profit of her exigencies as she is to take advantage of ours, is also not without value.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.