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be done upon this subject. The objection to sending such letters through sources of our own would seem to be that it would involve a new system, give rise to complications, and charge the government with a great deal of trouble. I told him that I had recently seen it stated in an American newspaper that you were maturing a plan for this purpose, and I thought it would soon be carried into effect.
I assured him that unless all our hopes failed, this insurrection was drawing to its close. He said Mr. Mercier likewise had so written to them. I may add bere that within the last few days a very considerable number of arrests (at least seventy) have been made in Paris, of persons charged with revolutionary designs and purposes. They are generally young men who have been agitating for revolution, in secret societies and otherwise. Large numbers of the population of Paris, especially in the Faubourg St. Antoine, are out of employment, and of course up for mischief. Though little is publicly said, I can readily understand that the government is kept on the
qui vive.” But this agitation will amount to nothing: the Emperor is firmly seated, and unless some very unexpected event shall arise, his power, so long as he lives, is as secure as that of any monarch in Europe. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM L. DAYTON. His Excellency WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, &c., fc., sc.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
PARIS, March 19, 1862. SIR: I omitted in my despatch of yesterday to say, that in my conference with Mr. Thouvenel, therein referred to, I again briefly called his attention to the suggestion in your note to Mr. Mercier in relation to certain ameliorations in the international code of maritime law. He said he did not think that much could be accomplished at present in that way by direct negotiation with foreign powers, (meaning, I suppose, Great Britain,) but that the public mind must first be properly impressed. He called my attention to the fact of the issue of the pamphlet by Monsieur de Hautefeuille on the , subject, which I enclosed to you; likewise to the recent debate in the British Parliament.
This debate, by the way, is calculated in the end to impress itself strongly upon the mind, more especially, of the shipping interests of Great Britain. It has brought out prominently the effect of the Paris convention of 1856 upon British interests. The adoption by that government of the principle that the neutral flag protects the goods of a belligerent, goes far towards a recognition, practically, of the principle that private property afloat (not contraband) is safe; for it follows almost as a consequence of the adoption of the principle that private property, in time of war, will only be put afloat in neutral bottoms. In other words, the commerce of England and France, in case of a war between those powers, would be carried on in safety through the agency of the ships of the United States and of other neutrals, while their own ships would be left to rot at their wbarves. It is true, the same result, under like circumstances, would come to us; but our separation from the European powers, and, as a consequence, the fewer chances of war with maritime nations to which we are subject, makes the contingency more remote. It would certainly be to advance only one step further in this ameliorating process to make private property safe in any ship; and the interests
of England would seem to justify this advance, if it does not require it. Her immense commercial marine would then be kept afloat in time of war. If the principle would deprive her of the power of crippling an adversary to so great an extent as heretofore, an advantage more than equivalent would arise in the increased protection it would give to her shipping and to her commerce. It would be but to sacrifice a war power to a greater and better--a peace power. To this she will, I believe, come at last; or, if not, in time of war, she will violate the principle she has adopted—that the flag covers the cargo. She cannot, as it seems to me, stand for many years in the anomalous position she now occupies. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, fv., &c., sc.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
PARIS, March 25, 1862. Sır: Your despatches Nos. 118, 119, and 120 were received by me on the 21st instant, and yet the contents of 118 and 120 have not, up to this date, been communicated to Mr. Thouvenel. This is owing to the fact that I received notice, on Sunday last, that he would not receive me until Friday next, and I didonot feel that the despatches were of a nature to justify a call for a special interview.
In the meantime the Emperor, without application on my part, by a note from his chamberlain, signified to me that he would receive me to-day at 2 p. m. Of course I availed myself of the opportunity, and have just returned from this personal interview. I was most kindly received, and he said at once that he had wished to have a talk with me about cotton, and the prospect of opening our ports. He spoke again of the great inconvenience connected with the existing condition of things, and feared it would not speedily come to an end; that the war might yet be a long one. He referred, too, to the probability of the south's destroying its cotton, &c. These, of course, are old matters, and I refer to them only as coming now directly from his Majesty. In reply, I thanked him for the opportunity of a direct personal conference, and assured him again of the confidence of our government in the early suppression of the insurrection. As to the burning of the cotton I told him that it might be, and doubtless would be, done, to a limited extent, but that little confidence was to be placed, in my judgment, upon the blustering resolutions and loud talk of southern people upon this subject; that I did not doubt, if we got possession of the country, enough of cotton would remain to supply the present European want. I then read to him your despatches 118 and 120. He was aware that an army and fleet were on their way by sea to New Orleans, and asked, if we took that city, whether i thought they would then get a supply of cotton. I told him I had little doubt of it; that you had always represented that when we took possession of the country in which the ports were located the blockade would be removed, I thought that cotton, to a considerable extent, would come forward. I then called his attention particularly to the suggestion in the latter part of yonr confidential despatch No. 120. I told him we honestly believed that if a proclamation by France and England withdrawing belligerent rights from
the insurrectionists should be made, the insurrection would collapse at once; that it was the moral support only which that concession had given them that had sustained them so far; that they had always looked to it as a first step towards their final recognition as an independent power. If the concession were withdrawn, I believed, as an equivalent, the blockade would be raised at an early day. He said the concession of belligerent rights was made upon an understanding with England; that some legal questions were involved in it originally, and that he would' have to speak to Mr. Thouvenel about them. I called his attention to the fact that the confederate flag had
been scarcely, if at all, seen in a port of France; that they had almost no i commerce upon the ocean and scarcely the pretence of a navy; that the two
vessels, (Nashville and Sumter,) which had alone been in European waters, had demeaned themselves as pirates rather than as ships-of-war; that a withdrawal of belligerent rights would, under these circumstances, take from the south no material advantage; it would only deprive them of the countenance and moral support of other nations. The Emperor replied that be must frankly say, when the insurrection broke out and this concession of belligerent rights was made, he did not suppose the north would succeed; that it was the general belief of statesmen in Europe that the two sections would never come together again. This belief, he intimated, was a principal reason why this concession of belligerent rights was then granted. He said now it was a large country, and for that reason difficult to sụb. due. I told him (as I had before told Mr. Thouvenel, in answer to the same objection) that we did not need to seize hold of a man's entire body to control him; that if we grasped firmly any sensitive extremities it was enough; that he had controlled Russia for the time being by taking possession of Sebastopol. I then called his attention to the few ports in the south, and the effect of seizing and holding them-excluding from the outer world the people of the interior, whose entire surplus industry was devoted to raising articles for export. This advantage, in connexion with the fact of the unquestionable existence of a large Union element in parts of the south, would, I thought, bring them into the Union again. Without expressing any opinion upon these matters, he said he would think of them, but hoped in the meantime · that something would be done by us to relieve the difficulties here growing out of the want of cotton. I have heretofore expressed my earnest and perhaps somewhat urgent wish that this hope may be realized. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency William H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, fc., 4., sc.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
[Extract.] No. 130.]
Paris, March 26, 1862. Sir: I cannot forbear to congratulate the President and the administration upon its wise and opportune action in reference to the aid to be given to States in the emancipation of their slaves. The recommendation (supported as it was by the prompt action of the House of Representatives) has made a most favorable impression in Europe. It is almost universally looked npon as the "beginning of the end,” and that is much, although the end may be distant. The Emperor, yesterday, in the private conference to which my last despatch refers, spoke of the matter, and I thought had been favorably impressed by it. That portion of the English press which has been so pertinaciously opposed to the north is trying to destroy the favorable effect of this action of the federal government upon the public mind of Europe, by commenting upon it as impracticable and futile under existing circumstances; but the great fact of the recommendation and the prompt action of Congress upon it remains. That it will influence favorably in our behalf the minds of the Christian world is not to be doubted.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WM. L. DAYTON.
His Excellency WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, fr., fr., sc.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 26, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of March 4 (No. 124) is received. It brings a casual conversation with which you were favored by his Majesty the Emperor. While it was unquestionably proper that the President should be informed of the conversation, it will be for Mr. Thouvenel to decide whether he will entertain my comments upon it.
It is a pleasure to say that the remarks of his Majesty on that occasion, like the other communications which he has personally made to you, are manifestly sincere, grave, and earnest.
The substance of those remarks is, that he is very solicitous for an early termination of our domestic difficulties, because they are producing effects very injurious to the prosperity, and even calculated to disturb the tranquillity, of the French empire.
We have not been inattentive observers of recent occurrences in France, and thus we have become aware of the distress which prevails in many of the districts of that country, and of the popular movements which it has produced. While his Majesty would probably admit that other circumstances have combined with our unhappy civil strife in producing that distress, I am not at all disposed to deny that a large share of it is justly attributable to the latter cause. I can also very easily understand how naturally those classes of the French population which are most immediately affected trace all their troubles to that cause alone.
In behalf of the President, I can say, with the utmost frankness and sincerity, that he has not indulged a sentiment or a feeling during all our troubles that was not earnestly generous and friendly towards all foreign states, and especially so towards the government and the people of France. Indeed, it could not have been otherwise ; for we have learned by painful and anxious experience that the first interests of every state are security and peace. Moreover, although the policy of France during our trials has not always been such as in the great straits through which we have passed we could entirely approve, yet; on reviewing the events of the year, I am able to admit that that policy was not unnaturally regarded by the Emperor as necessary under the aspect which our affairs assumed abroad. I can recall not one instance of disingenuousness or unkindness towards us in the intercourse which has taken place during that period between the two countries. Moreover, revolutions are epidemical; and, although we deem
our own country to be now on the return to a condition of order and repose, we are not sure that new distractions would not befall us if revolutions should break out in Western Europe. The United States are thus bound to desire the peace of all other nations. The Emperor may, therefore, rest assured that this government is not merely not indifferent to the wishes he expresses, but is desirous so to direct its proceedings as to meet and gratify them.
His Majesty mentioned to you two subjects of anxiety : the first, whether we shall be able speedily to open cotton ports; the other, whether, even if such ports shall be so opened, cotton will come. It is hazardous, as his Majesty well knows, to speculate on the probable course of military operations. In regard to this strife, I have been sanguine of only one, and that the cardinal point, namely: that the national forces would prevail, and the Union be thus maintained. But how, and when, and where the intervening victories would be won, and the unavoidable disasters and disappointments would occur, I have not undertaken to predict, because such knowledge is never vouchsafed to rulers or to statesmen. Perhaps before this paper shall have reached you, possibly even before it shall have left this place, there may be reverses here which will essentially modify the favorable expectations which, in common with all our countrymen, we are now indulging with a high degree of confidence.
These expectations, however, I give you for the information of the government of France. We have already, with a strong hand, recovered the · control of nearly all of the coast of the insurrectionary States, and we have recaptured four of the great ports which were wrested from us by the insurgents, or betrayed into their hands before the government assumed its attitude of self-defence. While doing this we have effected a release of all our land and naval forces from the sieges in which they were held by the rebels. All these forces are, as is supposed, safely acting aggressively. Our means are ample, our forces numerous, our credit sound, and our spirit buoyant and brave. The reverse of all this is the true condition of the insurgents. They are reduced from aggression to defence. Distracted between many exposed points, they have consumed most of their resources ; their credit is nearly prostrate their forces, always exaggerated, are now very feeble ; and they are considering, not so much how they shall carry on the war they so recklessly began, as how they shall meet and endure the calamities it is bringing upon them. It is under these circumstances that our army of the Potomac, under General McClellan, to-day is descending that river, an hundred thousand strong, to attack and carry Norfolk and Richmond ; that another army, under General Frémont, is moving upon Cumberland Gap, to cut off the communication of the insurgents with the more southern States ; that a third army, under General Halleck, equal in nuinbers and efficiency with that of the Potomac, is descending both banks of the Mississippi, flanking what has hitherto proved to be an irresistible naval force, which is making its way upon the river itself to New Orleans; while a fourth column of land and naval forces, under General Butler and Captain Porter, deemed adequate to any emergency, is already believed to be ascending the river from the Belize to attack New Orleans. Burnside has really left nothing to be done to rescue the ports between Norfolk and Charleston. Charleston cannot long hold out; and the fall of Savannah is understood to be only a question of days, not of weeks. Mobile cannot stand after the fall of these and of New Orleans, and all the ports between those cities are already in our possession.
This summary of our military situation encourages us to believe that the insurrectionary government must very soon fall and disappear.
The second question upon which his Majesty expressed his anxiety is,