Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 1282.]

Sir: In reference to the subject of my despatch No. 1277, sent to the department last week, I have the honor to report that at the meeting of the court on Monday last the counsel for Mr. Prioleau, having received information from Mr. Morse of the position which had been taken by me, declined to proceed with their motion at that time, and obtained a continuance. Hence the whole business stood suspended until information could be had from the government.

Yesterday I received your telegram of the 29th ultimo, and took the earliest opportunity to communicate the contents to Mr. Morse. I directed him at once to notify Mr. Prioleau that the arrangement made was disavowed by the government, which he promised to do. I have also notified the consul at Liverpool of the same fact, and have directed him to proceed with his solicitors just as if nothing of the kind had been attempted.

Should you, however, deem the course advisable which I suggested in my despatch, it may admit of question, whether the absence of Mr. Morse might not prove an obstacle to the progress of an agent in making the desired settlement. Mr. Morse is possessed of much information, which would be of great value in [Page 34] directing his efforts, and difficult to be got from elsewhere. Although he has certainly been precipitate, and, perhaps, overreached by more cunning parties than himself in this transaction, that would not prevent his co-operation from being useful under a new chief. I do not entertain a doubt of his motives throughout. Hence I have hesitated to advise him at once to obey the requisition made upon him in your telegram. Should you, however, after a full examination of the whole case as presented by all the reports subsequently received from here, still deem it proper that he should come home, I have suggested to him the propriety of making such arrangements of his business in the interval as may enable him to embark at a moment’s warning, through the telegraph or otherwise.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.