Page images


first the entire occupation of all those portions of the Union which had not been in the beginning betrayed into the secession movement; and it had also regained so many of the forts, rivers, and positions, which were thus at first betrayed, that, by the general consent of all observers, the revolt was deemed as practically suppressed. The projected insurgent campaign has been put into a train of military execution, and although that train is perhaps not yet ended, enough has occurred to prove the entire failure of all its objects. Not one important strategic point which the government held in July last has been lost. It is still in possession or in control now, as it was then, of the coasts, the rivers, the lakes, the marts, and the forts of the country, and, except by luck and adventure, no enemy of the United States can leave the country, and no ally of the insurgents can enter it. Such is the military situation now.

What are the prospects of the insurgents? Their credit and resources are practically exhausted. With a floating debt of four hundred millions, represented by paper which is at a discount of seventy-five per cent., they have neither received, nor have they the means of raising, a revenue equal to ten millions, in any form, applicable either to the defraying of present expenses or the payment of interest on existing or future obligations. Their armies were raised by conscription, which left them no reserves. Those armies, wasted like our own by the casualties of war, are reduced to a condition of ineffectiveness, and cannot be renewed. Want and distress, hitherto unknown within the political jurisdiction of the United States, are already disclosing themselves in fearful forms throughout the entire region occupied by the insurgents. Industry has ceased, and thrift is lost. Do the leaders even propose a new campaign to retrieve the failure of the one that is approaching its end? No; they are looking out for winter quarters, and are calculating on the chances that forcign intervention may secure for them a peace which they are as yet unwilling to ask, although unable to conquer.

What, on the other hand, is the condition of the government and the loyal people, whose cause it is dcfending. It has a revenue available in the precious metals of more than a hundred millions applicable to present expenses, and the interest on a national debt of five hundred millions. It is as punctual in all its payments and as solvent as any government now existing or that ever has existed. Its second army, just now entering the field, is larger than the first; and it has a third and even a fourth army, as large as the present one, in reserve, if there shall, unhappily, be occasion for it. The marine force which has hitherto been employed with so much effect was not even a miniature or a model of the navy which is now going forth from its navy yards. Our mines are yielding gold more rapidly than foreign trade can withdraw it from us; and after supplying our own population, including our armies, with bread, we are shipping a surplus which silences the alarms of famine in Europe. Is the national mind unsteady or its tone unsound? Let its alacrity in sending the new levies of six hundred thousand strong into the field in a period of two months answer this question. The people do, indeed, desire peace and repose, as they all along have desired these objects; but the first voice has yet to be raised in demand for peace at such a cost as a loss of the Union, or even of an acre of the broad foundation that it covers. Since the European ideas of the failure of the government were formed a new political event has occurred, which has too much significance to be overlooked. The President, practically with the consent of the American people, has given notice to the insurrectionary slave States that if they refuse after the first day of January next to resume their constitutional relation to their sister States, and persevere in this desolating war, slavery shall, from and after that day, cease within their borders; and national armies and navies are now going forward to make that announcement, if it shall become necessary, a fact. It may be true, as European statesmen so constantly insist, that the slave masters inhabiting the region in insurrection will not submit.


Human nature, on the other hand, will teach those statesmen that, though the masters may persist in refusing the Union, the slaves will not reject their offered freedom. If one needs aid to find out how this new but necessary operation of the war will work, he has only to look at the map of the insurrectionary region, and see that that part of the Mississippi which it embraces is inhabited by a population of whom an average of twenty per centum are white men and all the rest arc African slaves. Without design on the part of the government against its most benevolent efforts, the slave masters of the insurrectionary States have brought their system of African slavery directly into conflict with the government in its struggle to maintain and preserve the American Union. They have done this under the influence of a reckless and desperate ambition.

If they persist, after the reasonable and ample warning they have received, they must lose the factitious social condition which has been the sole spring of their disloyalty and treason. Are the enlightened and humane nations Great Britain and France to throw their protection over the insurgents now? Are they to enter, directly or indirectly, into this conflict, which, besides being exclusively one belonging to the friendly people of a distant continent, has also, by force of circumstances, become a war between freedom and human bondage? Will they interfere to strike down the arm that so reluctantly but so effectually is raised at last to break the fetters of the slave, and seek to rivet anew the chains which he has sundered ? Has this purpose, strange and untried, entered into the counsels of those who are said to have concluded that it is their duty to recognize the insurgents? If so, have they considered, further, that recognition must tail without intervention; that intervention will be ineffectual unless attended by permanent and persisting armies, and that they are committing themselves to maintain slavery in that manner among a people where slaves and masters alike agree in the resolution that it shall no longer exist? Is this to be the climax of the world's progress in the nineteenth century?

The European impulses favorable to recognition of the insurgents are due chiefly to the earnestness with which they have announced their resolution to separate. In this respect they can surpass us. We, the loyal people of this

, Union, are less demonstrative. We are necessarily so. Time works against the insurgents and in our favor. Reason and conscience are on our side; passion alone on theirs. We have institutions to preserve, and responsibilities worldwide and affecting future ages to discharge; they have none. They are at liberty to destroy, and trust to future chances to rebuild; we must save our institutions, not only for ourselves, but even for them. I trust, however, that, even if the early operations of the government left room for any misapprehension on the subject, the decision and the energies which this government and the loyal people have put forth within the last three months will satisfy Europe that we are not only a considerate but a practical and persevering people. It is time that we should be understood, there. In one sense-a generous one

mit is true, as Earl Russell has said, that we are fighting for empire. But the empire is not only our own already, but it was lawfully acquired, and is lawfully held. Extensive as it is, none the less in every part our own. We defend it, and we love it with all the affection with which patriotism in every land inspires the human heart. It has the best of institutions—institutions, the excellence of which is generously and even gratefully conceded by all men, while they are endeared to ourselves by all national recollections, and by all the hopes and desires we so naturally cherish for a great and glorious future. Studying to confine this unhappy struggle within our own borders, we have not only invoked no foreign aid or sympathy, but we have warned foreign nations frankly and have besought them not to interfere. We have practiced justice towards them in every way, and conciliation in an unusual degree. But we are none the less determined for all that to be sovereign and to be free. We indulge in no menaces and no defiances. We abide patiently and with composure the course of events and the action of

the nations, whose forbearance we have invoked scarcely less for their sakes than for our own. We have not been misled by any of the semblances of impartiality or of neutrality which unfriendly proceedings towards us in a perilous strife have put on, When any government shall incline to a new and more unfriendly attitude, we shall then revise with care our existing relations towards that power, and shall act in the emergency as becomes a people who have never yet faltered in their duty to themselves while they were endeavoring to improve the condition of the human race. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. William L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., &c., dc.

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward. No. 213.)

PARIS, October 21, 1862. Sir: I have nothing of importance to communicate at this moment, beyond what you will see more fully stated in the public journals. It is now conceded on all hands that Mr. Thouvenel retired from the department of foreign affairs because the Emperor was unwilling to change the statu quo in Italy, and that Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys takes office because his views upon that question better conform to those of the Emperor. It is supposed by many of the journals that this change in the cabinet is merely preliminary to one more extensive. It is said that Messrs. Persigny, Fould, Rouher, and perhaps others of the cabinet, participate in the views of Mr. Thouvenel on this question, and that they, too, must retire; but this last is doubtful. The Emperor will be very loath to part with these men. Comte Persigny is now and has been his personal friend for many years—a friendship commencing in the day of adversity and trial. Mr. Fould is recoguized, as you are aware, as the great financier of the empire. His retirement would at once seriously affect the Bourse. When the deficit in the treasury appeared, and was apparently insurmountable, the Emperor last year accepted the plan of Mr. Fould, and placed him at the head of the department of finance. The late report of this minister shows that, notwithstanding the Mexican war, this deficit will not be increased this year. His administration of the finances seems thus far to have been considered successful, and it may be doubted if the Emperor would so soon part from an assistant so useful. Mr. Rouher was the French minister who aided so essentially in the negotiation of the late commercial treaty between France and England—a treaty upon which, it is said, the Emperor greatly prides himself. Still, notwithstanding these matters, it is possible that some of these changes, or others, may be made. The construction of this government is such that little leaks out, with any assurance of certainty, in advance; and for the simple reason that the Emperor (reticent as he is) is the sole controlling power. As long, therefore, as he says nothing, there is little known of what is likely to follow.

Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys received the diplomatic corps to-day for the first time. He said he was not yet prepared to discuss any general questions. The members of the corps, therefore, who had business, left with him papers or made suggestions which he said he would examine and answer in future. I told him it would give me pleasure to converse upou the affairs of our country, and left with him to be read your circular or despatch No. 204, and likewise a copy of your late circular, dated September 22, with the President's proclamation. The first of these papers I had not shown to Mr. Thouvenel, because in the course of our conversations his attention had been called to most of the sugges


tions contained in it, and, as you did not say it should be read to him, I doubted the propriety of doing so. But a new minister coming in, to whom the subject might not be so familiar, I thought it wise, and, under all the circumstances, safest to give to him your views in the condensed form in which they are found in that paper. He said he would examine it with care. I left a copy of the last circular, with the President's proclamation, because they have been so garbled by foreign newspapers that I thought it better he should have in his hands at least an authentic copy. He referred to the unhappy condition of our country; spoke of it as a great source of regret to France; said that our question was a great question, and he should endeavor to study it as soon as possible. With some general remarks in answer from myself, my visit ended.

Mr. Drouyn de L'huys is, in addition to his other merits, a gentleman of fine manners, and his appointment is very acceptable, I find, to the corps diplomatique. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Sr., &c., dc.

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Scward.

No. 214.]

Paris, October 23, 1862. Sir: In view of the numerous statements which we find in the public journals of an intent upon the part of France to take and hold permanent possession of Mexico, I have thought it best to enclose you the within slip. It is possible that the letter of the Emperor to General de Lorencez, which it contains, you may not have seen. In it you will remark that his Majesty reiterates the sentiment so often expressed to us through Mr. Thouvenel. He says: “ It is contrary to my interest, my origin, and my principles, to impose any kind of government whatever on the Mexican people; they may freely choose that which suits them best,” &c.

This letter was written after the large increase of re-enforcements had been ordered to Mexico; which re-enforcements, by the way, have been, it is said, still further increased. The letter will likewise assure you that, if the future shall show that you have mistaken in any degree the purposes of France in Mexico, you will have acted under warrant from the highest authority. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency William H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Sc., c., fc.

A letter from Vera Cruz, of the 19th September, in the Constitutionnel, says:

“ Letters have been received from the city of Mexico to the 13th, and for the first time for several weeks we hear something of what is going on in the capital. The greatest confusion prevails in the government since the departure of Doblado, who has retired into his native State, taking with him 1,000 men, a whole convoy of wagons, and a great part of the archives of his ministry. No one exactly knows what his projects are, but the expectation is that he will soon be seen at the head of a party favorable to the intervention. The death of General Saragoza is an irreparable loss for the Juarist party. He was the very soul of the army, and had acquired an authority very rare in this unfor. tunate country. Uraga, Ortega, and Comonfort are preparing to dispute the vacant post, but neither of them is capable of filling it properly. Articles bave

been published in the Mexican journals by order of Juarez, in which the French are represented as carrying on a complete savage warfare, pillaging and burning all that falls in their way. Those infamous calumnies have caused great irritation among the troops at Orizaba. Our communications with that place are very difficult, not on account of the enemy, but from the bad state of the roads in consequence of the heavy rains. General de Lorencez has published, in an order of the day, the following letter addressed to him by the Emperor :

“My Dear GENERAL : I learnt with pleasure the brilliant affair of the Cumbrès, and with mortification the check experienced in the attack against Puebla. It is the fate of war to see reverses at times obscure the splendor of success; but that is not a reason for being discouraged. The honor of the country is engaged, and you will be supported by all the resources which you could look for, and of which you may stand in need. Be to the troops under your orders the interpreter of my entire satisfaction at their courage and perseverance in supporting fatigues and privations. However distant they may be, my solicitude is always with them. I approve of your conduct, although it does not appear to have been well understood by every one. You did right to protect General Almonte, since he is at war with the present government of Mexico. All those who seek a shelter under your flag have the same right to your protection. But all that must not in any way influence your conduct for the future. It is contrary to my interest, my origin, and my principles to impose any kind of government whatever on the Mexican people; they may freely choose that which suits them best. All I demand from them is sincerity in their relations with foreign nations, and I only desire one thing—the prosperity and independence of that fine country under a stable and regular government. I renew to you the assurance of my sentiments.

««• NAPOLEON.' "Such a formal declaration, emanating direct from the Emperor, has produced an excellent effect, and will greatly facilitate what remains to be done. Admiral Jurien de la Gravière, a few hours after his arrival, published an order of the day addressed to the officers of the army and navy, and to the seamen engaged in the Mexican expedition, in which he announces his return, and calls on them to continue to merit well of their country by persevering in the courage and devotedness of which they have given such proofs since their arrival in the country.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

[ocr errors]

No. 240.)


Washington, October 27, 1862. SIR: I enclose herewith, for your information, a copy of my despatch No. 382, of this date, to Mr. Adams, relative to military events. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


[The above-mentioned enclosure will be found in the correspondence with Mr. Adams.

« PreviousContinue »