[312] *Mr. Dayton, United States minister, to M. Drouyn de Lhuys, minister of foreign affairs.

Monsieur le Ministre: I have just received information from our consular agent at Calais that the confederate war-vessel Rappahannock [Page 42] has completed her repairs and equipment, and is about to leave that port; and he further says that it appears by a shipping gazette that a ship has gone out of the Thames laden with munitions of all kinds for the Rappahannock.

If this be true (and it is probable) its effect upon the public mind of my country, and the view likely to be taken of it by my Government must be obvious.

The Rappahannock is a confederate cruiser, and not a vessel of commerce. To equip her in one neutral port as such, when it is well understood she is to be immediately supplied from another neutral port with arms to prey upon our commerce, is, I submit, to aid directly in the principal wrong.

The ports of England and Prance alternating in the character of their aid, might in this way be made the easy means, or base, of military operations against us.

[313] It is perfectly certain that the United States Government will never acquiese in the justice or legality of such proceedings. And I now, with great respect, give formal notice that reclamation will be made in due time *for all damages which shall be done by the Rappahannock to our commerce, in case she be permitted under the circumstances to go to sea.

Accept, sir, the assurance of high consideration with which I have the honor to be your excellency’s very obedient servant,


His Excellency M. Drouyn de Lhuys,
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paris.