Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward

No. 383.]

Sir: Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys, in the course of conversation yesterday, stated a fact which it is well, perhaps, that I communicate to you. He said that some weeks ago the British government informed them that an American vessel had been taken by the confederates, as a prize, and sold to an Englishman; that after this she had been retaken by one of our ships, and that you had, therefore, refused to recognize the British title, coming, as it did, through a confederate source. The English government thereupon resolved that it would not recognize the right of the United States government to make prizes of confederate vessels, and it submitted the proposition to the French government, with a view to a just declaration to that effect. Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys informed them in answer that this government had no such case against us, and he thought it would be in bad taste to make such declaration before a case occurred calling for it. He informed them, further, that he did not know what course this government would take in such an event, and be did not wish to anticipate it.

The conversation on the subject there ceased, and he said he did not know what the British government had done.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.