Mr. Dayton, United States minister, to Mr. Seward, Secretary of State.


Sir: * * * * * * * * *

My notice to the French government that they would be held responsible for all damages done by the Rappahannock, in case she should be permitted to go to sea, was in anticipation of that event, and in the hope that the question, being thus plainly presented in advance, they might prevent the wrong by forbidding her departure. It has, perhaps, some effect, for she is yet shut up in her basin, with strict orders not to permit her to depart without first obtaining the direct authority of this government.

[324] The officers of the ship, Mr. Drouyn de Lhuys informs *me, “grumble” very much at their enforced detention, but he has informed them that France will not permit her ports to be used for the equipment of vessels of war for the confederates.

I have just received notice from our consular agent at Calais that Captain Campbell, as well as the first lieutenant of the Rappahannock, have left here and gone back to England, with a view, as they said, to buy and equip another ship there; and that a man named Fonteroy (his baggage is marked “Colonel Fonteroy”) has taken command of the Rappahannock.

Our consular agent thinks this is preparatory to the vessel’s leaving; but it is quite certain that she has had no permit to leave, and had, a day or two since on boarding, neither arms nor crew for any hostile purpose, or indeed to do anything more than navigate her from one port to a neighboring port. * * * * *

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


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