Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward.

Sir: In a note which you did me the honor to address to me on the 25th of April last, respecting the transfer, before condemnation, of the British steamship Granite City to the United States Navy Department, you were so good as to inform me that the authority for this proceeding was contained in the 2d section of the act of Congress approved on the 3d of March, and entitled “An act further to regulate proceedings in prize cases, and to amend various acts of Congress in relation thereto.”

Her Majesty’s government, having carefully considered the matter, are of opinion that this act of Congress, so far as it purports to authorize the taking of any captured neutral vessel, before adjudication, for the use of the United States government, is a novelty, for which no warrant is to be found in accredited authorities in usage, or in the principles of international law; and her Majesty’s government have, accordingly, directed me to remonstrate against the exercise of the power conferred by the act.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.