Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward.

Sir: In a note dated the 10th ultimo, I reminded you that I had submitted to you an affidavit made by Mr. J. M. Vernon, to the effect that he was a native born British subject, and that he had never been naturalized in this or any other country; and I asked that I may be made acquainted with the grounds upon which the judge advocate founded the opinion that he was not a British subject.

No information on this point has been communicated to me by you, but I have received, this morning, a letter from Mr. Vernon, in which he repeats his assertion that he is a British subject, and points out that the opinion as to his nationality, expressed by the advocate general, is equivalent to a charge that he has wilfully committed the grave and heinous crime of perjury. Mr. Vernon protests against being held guilty of this crime, and insists that an investigation may be made, and that he may be confronted with his accusers. He also solemnly protests against being exchanged, and declares that if he is sent through the lines to the south, it must be by force.

For my own part, I am bound to consider Mr. Vernon’s affidavit as prima facie evidence that he is a British subject so long as no proof to the contrary is produced, and I therefore feel it to be my duty to communicate his protests to you, to remind you that he has been more than four months in prison, and to repeat my request, that if there be evidence that he has committed some offence justifying the arraignment of a British subject in the United States, he may, without delay, be brought to trial; or if no such evidence be forthcoming, that he may be at once set at liberty.

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


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