No. 597.
General Sickles to Mr. Fish.

No. 820.]

Sir: The case of the Deerhound, of which I cabled a brief statement this morning, was not settled without considerable hesitation and delay [Page 931] on the part of this government. Mr. Carvajal insisted for some time that it was a proper subject for the decision of a prize-court, and that until the judgment of that tribunal should be given no diplomatic reclamation could be entertained. This ground was not satisfactory to Great Britain. It was replied that no declaration of war had been made by Spain; that the parties to the contest had not been recognized as belligerents; that no jurisdiction over such a capture could be acquired by a prize-court in time of peace; that the act of the Spanish cruiser was a mere trespass on the high seas, from which no right of condemnation could possibly follow. Great Britain therefore urged that the matter was in the exclusive and sole cognizance of the executive authorities; and, considering that the facts of the cas£ and the principles of public law applicable to them were indisputable and clear, the immediate release of the vessel, passengers, and crew was demanded. The Spanish government at length yielded to the arguments ably presented by Mr. MacDonell, the British charge d’affaires, and made ample reparation.

I am, &c,