Page images
PDF
EPUB

done had the European States a right of protest, remonstrance, or urgency in the matter. The civil war would have been ended long ago had those powers held an attitude otherwise than encouraging to the disturbers of our naticnal peace. This government has practiced the most careful justice and the most liberal forbearance on all subjects calculated to excite passion or engender ill will abroad.

It was not until peaceful means failed that it committed the integrity of the Union to the trial of civil war. It has no exemption from the laws of Providence, which make that form of trial one of time and hazard. It claims, and it will insist upon, its full right as a belligerent in the emergency. Those know least of the American people who suppose that for a moment they will hesitate to maintain that integrity, under any circumstances, with whatever of strength and resources they have, no matter who may propose, in whatever form, to intervene in the controversy. We seek peace at home and peace abroad. So earnestly do we seek it that we may, in any case, wait until aggression gives us the attitude of self-defence. If European states are as just and as sincerely desirous of peace as we are, the war cloud will pass over without producing disaster or greater distress. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. JAMES S. Pike, Esq., 6., 8., c.

Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.

[Extracts.] No. 54.)

UNITED STATES LEGATION,

The Hague, July 16, 1862. Sir: I have the honor to enclose you my account for the quarter ending June 30.

Since my last I have your despatch of June 21 (No. 59.)

The Japanese embassy, now making the tour of Europe, have spent some time here during the last few weeks, and have been the recipient of official and other civilities. The King fixed a day on which to receive them wbile they were yet in London, but they failed to extricate themselves from the blandishments of that metropolis in season to reach here at the time appointed. They came directly afterward, but meantime his Majesty had been taken, by affairs of state, to his country-seat, and the ambassadors were compelled to wait a fortnight for his return.

This government has declined to accede to their request to postpone the time stipulated by treaty for the opening of the Japanese ports, and awaits the action of the French government on that question.

The French minister at this court, Count Sartiges, has just returned here from Paris, where he has been absent several months on leave.

He informs me that the fall of New Orleans produced a profound impression in Paris, and that, if it should be followed by the federal occupation of Richmond before the close of the campaign, the rebellion would be regarded by the French government as virtually overcome.

The check to our arms before Richmond will be fruitful of a large crop of propositions from this side for a relaxation of the blockade, settlement, mediation, &c., and some of them may take an urgent form. According to my views, heretofore expressed, the time is about up when the pressure of the

tton question will begin to show itself in the action of the great powers

*

*

*

*

upon our affairs, and the reverse which it is reported General McClellan had met with comes at an opportune moment to afford a convenient pretext. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

JAMES S. PIKE. Hon. WILLIAM H, SEWARD,

Secretary of Stale.

conimon.

Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward. No. 55.]

UNITED STATES LEGATION,

The Hague, June (July) 23, 1862. Sir: This has been a week of very great excitement in relation to American affairs. The telegraph has performed its usual office of misrepresenting and prejudicing the cause of the federal government to a greater extent than

It has been reported, for example, by telegraph to the London Times, and by that means the news has been sent all over Europe, that General McClellan's army had capitulated, and the commander himself had fled on board the gunboat Galena. With this was communicated other circumstantial details of a similar character. The later advices show that the intelligence thus everywbere disseminated was simply maliciously false. The object of such reports is to confuse the European apprehension of our affairs, and thus work mischief to our cause, and that is accomplished.

The organs of the ruling classes in Europe are, of course, everywhere against us, and always must be while they are legitimist and we are republican. They thus find delight in seizing upon a momentary disaster to the arms of the republic, and in exaggerating its importance, and misrepresenting its character. It is by such shallow devices they flatter themselves they strengthen the rotten pillars of their own political system. The American government must fight all its battles, and secure all its triumphs, military and civil, in the face of a steady, uninterrupted current of hostile sentiment from this side of the Atlantic. It has been so thus far, and it will be so to the end. We shall have the congratulations of these countries and their moral support when we shall want neither, not a moment before. It is gratifying to find, among the great body of the people, an instinct and a knowledge that fully understands the craft of the ruling classes. The sympathy of the masses of the European people is, unquestionably, with the government and people of the loyal States, and it only needs opportunity to show itself in a way to convulse the entire continent. This encouragement to the reactionary movement in the United States by its sympathizers in the old world, it is but natural to suppose, will eugender a new stimulus to the revolutionary temper of these old countries, and thus work out a compensation in aid of those who labor to extend the blessings of good government based on popular rights, the champion of whom is seen to be, by all the world, the now struggling government of the United States. And it might not be amiss to inculcate the idea that, if European governments will have it so, it may turn out that its labors to this end will not be confined to the American continent.

The second chamber of this kingdom, by a vote of 46 to 12, have finally passed the bill decreeing emancipation to all the slaves in the Dutch colonies where slavery yet remains, of whom there are still about 36,000. The sum of 300 florins bas been fixed as the amount of indemnity to the master for each slave, without distinction of age or sex. Emancipation is to take place on the 1st of July, 1863, with a surveillance of government agents for ten years. The subject, long debated and long postponed, has been finally brought to a head by the activity of the new liberal government.

a

The crops of this kingdom, and up the valley of the Rhine into the heart of Germany, give promise of great abundance. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

JAMES S. PIKE. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Washington. .

Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike.

No. 63.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, August 4, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of the 16th of July (No. 54) has been received.

I incline to think, with all respect, that the Dutch government is mistaken in declining to accede to the Japanese proposition for delay in opening the additional ports. We acceded to it on the recommendation of our late minister there, Mr. Harris, who has proven himself very wise and sagacious in his intercourse with that singular, but certainly very well-disposed government.

The disappointment at Richmond confounded and bewildered our own people. It would not be surprising if they should in turn, by their utterances of despondency and apprehension, have bewildered and misled Europe. Unfortunately for a true understanding of the situation all the thoughts and impulses of the Union portion of the country are fully exposed, while a veil hides the trials, griefs, sorrows, perplexities, and fears of the insurgents. The time needful for comparison of opinion among us is, however, now nearly past. We have improved it to take notice of the actual condition of the cause and to make the necessary preparations for a more effective prosecution of the war than we could have made had not the disappointment happened. In the meantime, trade begins to revive strongly in New Orleans, and I look to an export of cotton which will convince the European world that its prosperity is not wisely to be sought through the overthrow of the American Union. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. JAMES S. PIKE, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.

[ocr errors]

[Extracts) No. 56.]

UNITED STATES LEGATION,

The Hague, August 6, 1862. Sir: The last mail brought me your despatches Nos. 60 and 61, of July 9 and 15, and also the circular of the department in relation to passport fees, and your note of the 14th of July, covering a copy of the bill subinitted to Congress by the President in relation to a compensated emancipation of the slaves. The message of the President in respect thereto, to which you refer, did not accompany it.

Europe waits to see how the country will bear the blow inflicted at Richmond. 'That blow has, to a great extent, neutralized the impression made here by the capture of New Orleans. I have heretofore given my opinion that the cotton famine was likely to prick on the leading governments of wostern Europe to some kind of interference in our affairs. I have also said

that the magnitude and intensity of our contest had of late tended to deter all parties from meddling in any way These conflicting incentives have produced a dead-lock, and I see no prospect of any change at present.

I feel confident that England is much alarmed at the existing situation in its bearing upon her transatlantic affairs, and thoroughly determined to avoid as far as possible all complications, and to get everybody back to a state of peace as fast as she can.

As to France, the universal sentiment seems to be that the Mexican invasion is a capital blunder and without compensations. The romantic love of glory for which that nation is distinguished is at present satisfied, and the popular urgency is turned into the unwonted channel of money making. The efforts of the best minds are directed to retrieve the national finances, which a long course of unrestricted expenditure has left in a dilapidated and threatening condition. The inference points to peaceable dispositions on the Emperor's part, from necessity if not from choice.

It is the remark of shrewd observers that the leading purpose of the Emperor's policy has always been to give a direction to the prevailing currents of public opinion. At present that opinion does not favor distant military expeditions.

*

*

*

*

*

The telegraph delights to torment us semi-weekly with lying intelligence or adverse speculations on the state of affairs in America, which the authentic news of the public journals never sustain.

When we break through the obstructions at Richmond, and our new gunboats shall reduce Charleston and Savannah, I do not believe Europe will see in the remaining debris of the rebellion substance or compactness enough to warrant the recognition of it as an independent government, but will be content to see the insurrection wear itself out by its own ineffectual struggles. I have the bunor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

JAMES S. PIKE. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike. No. 64.]

DEPARTMENT OF State,

Washington, August 8, 1862. Sır: Your despatch of the 23d of June, meaning July, (No. 55) has been received

The disappointment of the public expectation of the capture of Richmond by General McClellan produced a shock and confusion here which quite prepared me for the news of augmented prejudice against the cause of our country in Europe which you have sent. It belongs to the nature of popular masses to be profoundly affected by incidental triumphs and failures, but the change from buoyancy to despondency is usually not more rapid than the transition from despair to exultation.

The mails of this date will show you that the hour of sadness and perplexity has passed away here, and that the nation is bringing into the field with alacrity and enthusiasm re-enforcements which will augment the armies of the government to a million men, while naval preparations are going forward with equal vigor and on a proportionate scale.

We do not desire to contemplate foreign war unnecessarily, but we do not shrink from it when that prospect is forced upon us. Looking back through

the history of these troubles, I can fix on no instance in which we have failed in our duties to foreign states, while there has been more than one occasion on which we have practiced liberality, which might have been expected to propitiate friendship and favor.

We have some confidence that the governments of Europe may remain satisfied with the practice of justice and of prudence towards us. But this confidence rests upon the conviction that no interference with us could by possibility secure to them any benefits equal to those which they are now deriving from peaceful and friendly relations. We do not build expectations of favor upon the justice and beneficence of our cause, but we are at the same time entirely satisfied that it is a cause which mankind will not willingly suffer to perish, and that those who wantonly attack it will find that they have hazarded as much as its defenders.

You will not fail to express to the government of Holland the satisfaction with which the United States have learned that that government has completed the work of emancipation throughout all its dependencies. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. JAMES S. PIKE, Esq.,

*

*

*

[ocr errors]

Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.

[Extract.) No. 57.]

UNITED STATES LEGATION,

The Hague, August 13, 1862. Sir:

Europe waits with commendable patience for the next movement of our government upon the insurgent States. It is expected that its next military demonstration in Virginia will be successful. The late check at Richmond is attributed to want of skill rather than want of power.

This industrious and self-sustaining people seem to be but little affected by the convulsions of our continent. Their principal branches of industry prosper as usual, and their public revenues are undiminished. The new administration has thus far gone on with vigor and success, but it is only now beginning to enter upon the difficult question of colonial affairs, which is the work upon which its predecessor foundered. The country has derived a very large revenue from the island of Java for many years, but still the question arises whether it has been done in the best way or with a proper regard to the rights and interests of all concerned. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

JAMES S. PIKE, Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Washington.

Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.

[Extract.] No. 58.]

UNITED STATES LEGATION,

The Hague, August 27, 1862. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your despatches of August 4 and 8, Nos. 63 and 64. The

progress of events in Italy, where Garibaldi has entered anew upon

« PreviousContinue »