Mr. King to Mr. Seward.
Sir: In my despatch No. 83, of February 18th, I mentioned the circumstances under which the Scotch Presbyterians had been requested to close their places of worship within the walls of Rome, and transfer their religious services to a designated locality outside. I learned, two or three days since, that Mr. Odo Russell, diplomatic agent of the British government at the Papal court, who had reported the case to the authorities at home, had in reply received instructions to thank the Papal government for not having entirely deprived the Scotch Presbyterians of the right to meet for purposes of religious worship, and that it still permitted them so to assemble in a building adjacent to the one occupied for the past forty years by the English Protestants. The British government appeared to think that the Scotch, by knowingly violating the Roman law on this subject, had justly incurred the penalty prescribe, and that the Papal authorities in the course which they pursued had acted with commendable forbearance. Mr. Russell duly communicated to Cardinal Antonelli these thanks of the British government, and inferred from what transpired in the course of the subsequent conversation that his Eminence expected that the American [Page 706] Protestants also, if continuing to hold their religious services apart from the residence of the minister, would make use of the building already appropriated for English Protestant worship, in the immediate vicinity of the Porta del Popolo. For the present, nevertheless, the American chapel in the Vicolo d’Alibert, and no change seems likely to be made during the current season.
The United States ship of war Shamrock, Commander Hopkins, arrived at Civita Vecchia last week, to replace the Ticonderoga, ordered by the admiral to Port Mahon.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.