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intrigues of the insurgents, we shall iacur the misfortune of collision with foreign states, our position will then be one of pure and reproacbless self
defence. ! The nation has a right, and it is its duty, to live. Those who favor and
give aid to the insurrection, upon whatever pretext, assail the nation in an hour of danger, and therefore they cannot be held or regarded as its friends. In taking this ground, the United States claim only what they concede to all other nations. No state can be really independent in any other position.
Willing, however, to avert difficulties by conciliatory explanations, we frankly confess to the conviction that either the insurrection must be subdued and suppressed or the nation must perish. The case admits of no composition. If we bave no fear of failure, it is because we know that no other government than this could stand in this country, and that permanent dismemberment of it is impossible. The principal masses of the population are content with the present system, and cannot be brought to oppose or to surrender it. The faction which is attempting to destroy it, although infatuated and energetic, is, relatively to the whole people, an inconsiderable one. The natural highways of the country, extended sounds and lakes, and long widely branching rivers, combined with its artificial roads, are bonds which can neither be removed nor permanently broken by any mere political force whatsoever. The so-called Gulf States need the free use of all these highways, and those who dwell upon their borders will not consent to be shut out from the ocean. The wealth and patronage of the whole nation are needful to perfect civilization on the Pacific coast, and the Atlantic States must forever derive protection and support from the recesses of the continent. Those who are attempting to break up the Union must either substitute new commercial and social connexions for the highways now existing, or they must invent and establish a new political system which will preserve them. Nature opposes the former project. The wit of man fails to suggest not merely a better political system, having the same objects as the present Union, but even any possible substitute for it.
If it be said that these arguments are dispused of by the fact that civil war has occurred in defiance of them. I answer that the civil war is not yet ended. If it be replied that at least there is a manifest danger of dissolution of the Union, I rejoin that the occurrence of the civil war at most proves only that in this country, as in every other, it is possible for faction to interrupt
the course of civil administration and to substitute anarchy for law. I do not I know that any wise man has ever doubted that possibility. Sedition is,
as I suppose, à vice inherent and latent in every political state. But the condition of anarchy is not only anomalous but necessarily a transient one. I do not pretend to say how long the deplorable disturbances now existing here may continue, nor what extreme the anarchy which prevails in the southern part of the country may reach. It may be that the storm may continue one or more years longer, and that there may be a dissolution of society in that unhappy region. But after such a convulsion every state requires repose and again seeks peace, safety, and freedom ; and it will have
n them, if possible, under the political system which is best adapted to those ends. Alexander, Cæsar, and Napoleon, each in his time cast down established states and substituted new ones in their places. Yet the band that made the violent change had hardly been withdrawn when the subverted states reappeared, standing more firmly than before on their ancient
It is freely admitted that the salvation of the Union depends on the will and the choice of the American people, and that they are now engaged in a fierce conflict upon that very question.' But sooner or later there must come & truce, because civil war cannot be indefinitely endurod. Will there then
be reconciliation ? It cannot happen otherwise. When such a time arrives, any society will prefer the attainable to the unattainable object, the greater to the lesser advantage, and will bury every domestic difference to save itself from the worst of all political evils—foreign conquest and domination. The object of the insurgents is the fortifying and extending of African slavery. Is the object, under existing circumstances, really attainable? Is it not becoming more manifestly impossible every day that the war is prolonged ? Is even the continuance of slavery itself worth the sacrifices which the war has brought ? It is assumed that the insurgents, however erroneously, are determined upon that point. I reply, that it is always a class, or a sect, or a party, and not the whole country, that provokes or makes civil war, but it is not the same class or sect or party, but the whole country that ultimately makes the peace ; and hence it bas happened that hardly one ont of a hundred attempted revolutions has ever been successful. Is not this the instruction of ihe civil wars of England, France, and San Domingo ?
The consideration that this is a republican state has been heretofore impressed upon the correspondence of this department, and it cannot be too steadily kept in view by our representatives in Europe. Precisely because it is both a federal and a republican state, with its cohesion resulting from the choice of the people in two distinct processes, the nation must cease to exist when a foreign authority is admitted to any control over its counsels. It must continue to be jealous of foreign interventions and alliances, as it always heretofore has been.
The nation, moreover, is an American one. It has maintained pleasant and even profitable intercourse with the states of the eastern continent ; but it nevertheless is situated in a hemisphere where interests and customs and habits widely differing from those of Europe prevail. Among these differences this one at least is manifest: we neither have sought, nor can we ever wisely seek, conquests, colonies, or allies in the Old World. We have no voice in the congresses of Europe, and we cannot allow them a representation in our popular assemblies. All of the American States once were dependencies of European powers. The fact that it is necessary to discuss the subject of this letter sufficiently proves that even if those powers have relinquished all expectation of recovering a sway here that was so long ago cast off, yet the American nations have nevertheless not realized their safety against European ambition. For this reason, also, we must be left by foreign nations alone, to settle our own controversies and regulate our own affairs in our own American way.
If the forbearance we claim is not our right, those who seek to prevent our enjoyment of it can show the grouuds upon which foreign intervention or mediation is justified.
Will they claim that European powers are so much more enlightened, more just, and more humane than we are, that they can regulate not only their own affairs but ours also, niore wisely, and more beneficially than we have done? How and where have they proved this superiority?
I cannot avoid thinking that the ideas of intervention and mediation have their source in an imperfect conception in Europe of the independence of the American nation. Although actual foreign authority has so long passed away, yet the memory of it, and the sentiment of dictation, still linger in the parental European states. Perhaps some of the American nations have, by their willingness to accept of favors, lent some sanction to the pretension. But certainly this will not be urged against the United States.
We have too many proofs that our independence is by no means pleasing to portions of European society. They would, however, find it difficult to justify their dislike. That independence was lawfully won, and it has been universally acknowledged.
Is our peculiar form of government an offence? It was chosen by ourselves and for our own benefit, and it has not been enforced by us, nor can it in any case be enforced, upon any other people. Our own experience has proved its felicitous adaptation to our condition, and the judgment of mankind has pronounced that its influences upon other nations are beneficent. The severest censure has found no defect in it, except that it is too good to endure.
What plea for intervention or mediation remains ? Only this, that our civil war is inconvenient to foreign states. But the inconvenience they suffer is only incidental, and must be brief ; while iheir intervention or mediation might be fatal to the United States. Are not all civil wars necessarily inconvenient to foreigo nations ? Must every state, when it has the misfortune to fall into civil war, forego its independence and compromise its sovereignty because the war affects its foreign commerce? Would not the practice upon that principal result in the dissolution of all political society?
But it is urged that the war is protracted. What if it were so ? Do our national rights depend on the time that an insurrection may maintain itself? It has been a war of fifteen months. The battle field is as large as Europe. The dynamical question involved is as important as any that was ever committed to the issue of civil war. The principles at issue are as grave as any that ever were intrusted to the arbitration of arms. The resources opened by the government, the expenditures incurred, the armies brought into the field, and the vigor and diligence with which they are manœuvred, have never been surpassed ; nor has greater success, having due regard to the circumstances of the case, ever been attained.
Notwithstanding these facts, Europeans tell us that the task of subduing the insurrection is too great, that the conclusion is already foregone, and the Union must be lost. They fail, however, to satisfy us of either their right or their ability to advise upon it, while they no longer affect to conceal the prejudices or the interests which disqualify them for any judgment in the case.
Finally, the advocates of intervention are shocked by the calamities we are enduring, and concerned by the debts we are incurring, yet they have not one word of remonstrance or discouragement for the insurgents, and are busy agents in supplying them with materials of war. We deplore the sufferings which the war has brought, and are ready and anxious to end the contest. We offer the simple terms of restoration to the Union, and oblivion of the crimes committed against it so soon as may be compatible with the public safety.
I have expressed these views of the President to our representatives at this time, when I think there is no immediate danger of foreign intervention, or attempt at mediation, to the end that they may have their due weight whenever, in any chances of the war, apprehensions of foreign interference may recur. I am, sir, your obedient servant.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, August 18, 1862. Sir: I write a few words while the mail is closing. General Halleck, upon taking command of the army, made a careful survey of the entire military
position, and concluded thereupon to withdraw the army of the Potomac from the Peninsula, and to combine all our forces in front of Richmond. The measure was a difficult and delicate one. It is believed to have been substantially accomplished without any casualty. Our new levies are coming in in great numbers and in fine spirits. The gloom has passed away from the public mind. Although our arrangements for resuming offensive operations are yet incomplete, we have much confidence in being able to do so speedily and with decisive effect.
The disturbed condition of affairs in New Orleans is giving way slowly, and commerce is reviving there.
Discontents, which naturally enough found utterance in the loyal States in a brief season of despondency through which we have passed, have died away already, and with them the apprehensions of organizations to embarrass the Union. It is represented to us that the popular determination to maintain the war bas at no time been as unanimous and as earnest as it is
LEGATION OF the United States,
London, August 22, 1862. Sır: I have the honor to acknowledge the reception in due course, since the date of my last, of despatches from the department numbered 305 to 318, both inclusive, together with one marked confidential, and not numbered, dated the 2d of August.
The tenor of these papers, and especially of Nos. 308, 314, and of that marked “confidential,” is such as completely to answer the purposes of my inquiries. I am now in no doubt as to the course it will be my duty to pursue under any of the contingencies which are likely to occur.
In the meantime the state of things here is not materially changed. The ministers have, most of them, left town, and little is done excepting the formal business ordinarily transacted through the agency of the subordinates left in charge. For this reason I have been in some doubt how to proceed in executing the instructions contained in No. 306, of the 24th of July. and in No. 316, of the 4th of August, so far as they relate to objects to be gained by personal conference with the minister. On the whole, I have determined upon
formal action in the first place, the nature of which will be more fully set forth in separate despatches devoted to the respective subjects.
The character of the news received from America is regarded as so unfavorable to us as materially to affect the views of policy proper to be adopted here. It is now hoped that the rebels will be able to sustain them selves without the necessity of any other than moral support. This sensi. bly relieves us from the immediate probability of movement in any form.
You will have seen before this the publication made by Lord Russell of your despatch No. 260, a copy of which I communicated to him so long ago as the 19th of June last, and also of his own note to Mr. Stuart, of the 28th of July, taking notice of it. The whole proceeding must be admitted to be not a little anomalous. His lordship received a copy of the paper from me, which was furnished only for his information and for that of his government. He holds it for more than a month without even ing its existence, when all of a sudden, on intimation of the probability of
call for information in the House of Lords, be seizes the occasion not to write to me, but to address a species of reply to Mr. Stuart, at Washington, based upon the intelligence received of some reverses in America, which seem then, for the first time, to be caught at as a justification for continuing in the old line of policy, and then causes both to be published forthwith. This singular proceeding has subjected his lordship to some sharpness of criticism even here.
I have indeed been told, but not by authority such as to place the matter altogether beyond a doubt, that your despatch, in connexion with preceding ones likewise communicated, and other considerations, had had so much effect on the ministry as to incline them to leave open a way to the revisal of their former policy, depending on the issue of the movement upon
Richmond. Had that been successful, the recognition of belligerent rights was to have been withdrawn. I do not vouch for this as true, but, at any rate, it would fully explain the cause, both of the earlier delay and of the later action. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. Hon. William H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, August 22, 1862. Sir: In obedience to instructions contained in your despatch No. 312, I bave addressed a note to Earl Russell, a copy of which is herewith transmitted, giving the assent of the government to the propositions made by him for better securing the proper execution of the late treaty in suppression of the slave trade. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Adams to Earl Russell.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, August 22, 1862. My LORD: I have the honor to inform your lordship that I have now received instructions from the government of the United States to reply to the note received by me from you on the 17th of July, making certain propositions connected with the execution of the sixth and seventh articles of the late treaty for the further suppression of the slave trade.
I am directed to say that, in accordance with your lordship’s suggestion made in that note, the government will issue passports or safe conducts in the cases specified of vessels of the United States legally employed on the African coast, which will, until further notice, be signed only by the Secretary of State of the United States. Instructions proper for executing this. Dew arrangement, so far as British vessels are concerned, will likewise be