Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons.

My Lord: Your lordship’s note of the 5th instant, in regard to a claim of Mr. Henry E. Green, as a British subject, for damages resulting from the alleged destruction of his property at Napoleon, in the State of Arkansas, by the military forces of the United States, has been received.

It is hardly necessary to say, that the military operations of the government, carried on upon so extensive a scale during the present insurrection, are frequently giving rise to claims of this kind, as well not only by resident foreigners as by citizens of the United States. At the same time, as the necessity for these operations was unforeseen, Congress has not heretofore provided any funds for indemnities in such cases, or authorized any department of the government to examine and determine upon the justice or the validity of claims. It has been customary for Congress, on similar occasions which have heretofore occurred, to make such provision when the necessity for it has been fully developed. This is believed to be also the general practice of other nations, which have been mindful of the right of parties innocently aggrieved in the prosecution of war. I have brought the subject to the consideration of the President, and I am now authorized to inform your lordship that, fully appreciating the importance of the discharge of all just claims of the character indicated with as much promptness as possible, the President will at the next session of Congress call the attention of that body to the subject, with a view to the establishment of some general system which shall be adequate to the emergency.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, my lord, your obedient servant,


Right Hon. Lord Lyons, &c., &c.