Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
Sir: Referring to your despatch of the 14th of April last, relative to an alleged violation of the enlistment act of Great Britain by Captain Winslow, of the United States steamer Kearsarge, at Queenstown, Ireland, in November last, I have to state in reply, that a copy of the despatch and of its accompaniments was communicated to the Secretary of the Navy, to which Mr. Welles replied that it was hoped and believed that the explanations of Captain Winslow and of Lieutenant Commander Thornton, the executive officer of the Kearsarge, would have been satisfactory to her Britannic Majesty’s government; disclaiming as they do all intention of violating the enlistment act referred to, and avowing that every precaution had been taken by them to prevent anyone being carried off in the Kearsarge. That as they have not been satisfactory, the Navy Department is not indisposed to have the matter thoroughly investigated, in order that it may be brought out in its true light. That such an investigation cannot be had, however, whilst the Kearsarge is absent from the United States; that it would he detrimental to the interests of the United States now to recall her from the European coast, where she had been sent on special and important service. That the Navy Department will order the vessel home when it can be conveniently [Page 896] done, and if it should then be the wish of the British government that an investigation should take place, a court shall be ordered to inquire into the circumstances of the case, and should it appear that any officer connected with the vessel had been guilty of knowingly and intentionally violating the municipal laws of Great Britain, or conniving in a scheme to enlist persons at Queenstown, for service on board the Kearsarge, adequate punishment shall be meted to the guilty parties.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
C. F. Adams, Esq., &c., &c., &c.