Page images

a revolutionary career, absorbs public attention to the exclusion of almost all other subjects for the moment. The solution of the italian question is admitted to be even more difficult than the American. And for the present, at least, the state of affairs there creates a sensible diversion from our concerns. The leading governments may soon find enough to do at home to drive away all thoughts of meddling with transatlantic affairs.

I understand, from good authority, that the stock of cotton in France can be made to last till January, but that after that time, unless supplies should come forward, the mill owners anticipate serious trouble with their workmen. The manufacturers, however, are not impressed with the idea that the government should, or can, do anything for their relief, so far as the United States are concerned.

* I bave the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington.




Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.

No. 59.]


The Hague, September 3, 1862. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your two circulars of the 8th of August, Nos. 18 and 19.

The mighty preparations of the government to subdue the rebellion, to which you allude in your last despatch, and the extraordinary resources displayed by the country generally, cause involuntary expressions of wonder and surprise among foreigners, notwithstanding the railing of the organs of the ruling classes against the efforts to preserve the great republic.

People in Europe find it hard to understand how the United States have been able to expend eight hundred million dollars in sixteen months in war; endure the sacrifice of hundreds of millions of southern indebtedness; buy back enormous amounts of American securities from foreign holders, (all they desire to sell,) and yet still show unparalleled individual deposits in bank, and a rate of interest that exhibits a general plethora of money.

They are still further confounded at beholding the levy of six or seven hundred thousand men, withdrawn from industrial pursuits for more than a year, followed by no rise in the price of food, but on the contrary by an exhibition of unusual abundance at home after immense and unsurpassed exportations to foreign countries.

Thinking men witness these indications of seemingly unbounded resources with astonishment. Disliking republicanism, execrating the war because of its interference with domestic prosperity here, and because it thus menaces the tranquillity of Europe, the ruling classes, while long since forced by experience to believe in the ingenuity, the enterprise, and the activity of the Americans, had not looked for this remarkable display of wealth and resources. Neither, I may say, had our best friends counted upon it. You may be sure the spectacle produces a great influence upon the opinions of men and the action of governments. With such a country fully roused and determined to destroy the rebellion of the slaveholders, there are few sound judging men venturesome enough to think it will not succeed. It is felt that within the sphere of its domestic action nothing can be safely considered impossible to the government of such a country. Its failures, thus far, are

seen to be owing to the accident of incompetent men in responsible places; something which is of temporary duration and comparatively easy of reform. Its real power is properly held to be the only just measure of its ultimate efforts, and this is acknowledged to be apparently overwhelming for the reduction of an insurrection of less than a quarter part of its population. Along with the expression of these sentiments a reaction has recently taken place in American securities on this side, carrying them to as high a point as they occupied previous to the suspension of specie payments by our banks.

Our affairs in Europe are thus in a strong and healthy position, notwithstanding the interested clamor of our enemies through the press and elsewhere, and the solid judgment of the managers of European affairs is not now any more convinced of the final success of the insurgents than it was a year ago.

The recent announcement of the capture of Garibaldi has produced an extraordinary sensation over Europe. Yet he is the wolf whom it is not safe either to hold or to let go. I have the honor to be your most obedient servant,

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

Secretary of State, Washington.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike. No. 67.]


Washington, September 6, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of the 13th of August (No. 57) has been received. It is accompanied by papers furnished to you by Messrs. Hope & Company, of Amsterdam. For your information upon the subject, and in order that you may be able to communicate fully with those gentlemen, I give you copies of my two latest communications to the Netherlands minister here, Mr. Roest Van Limburg. These papers show the disposition of that case which has been made.

In the panorama of this war, as in others, the scenes are not definitely fixed either in their order or their effect. Our army, which became unfortunately divided in the attempt to take Richmond, has been again consolidated, but not without sume though not disastrous loss; and it is now, we hope only temporarily, again employed, not in aggressive movements, but in defending this capital.

The general aspect of military affairs is not altogether such as patriots could have desired. But we are consolidating and augmenting our forces, and preparing to recover the military situation with all the energy possible. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. JAMES S. Pike, Esq., fc., &c., sc.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike.

[Extract.) No. 69.]


Washington, September 15, 1862. Sır: Your despatch of August 27 (No. 58) has been received.

Your remarks on the condition of Europe, in view of the revolution inau. gurated by Garibaldi, seem to be very just. We now learn, however, that that general has been wounded and captured on the coast of Calabria by a French force, and has been conveyed a prisoner to Spezzia. This event may be reasonably supposed to have brought the insurrection to an end. Nevertheless, it seems a question of much interest how the discontented Italian masses have been affected by the misfortunes which have befallen their cause and their chief.

You have doubtless already been informed of the reverses which attended our arms in the vicinity of Manassas, in a series of battles, which occurred on the 28th, 29th, and 30th of August, and the 1st and 2d of September. The government and the country have a painful conviction that these disasters were unnecessary, and that they are the result of gross military misconduct. An investigation has been ordered, for the purpose of fixing the responsibility where it belongs.

Probably you are not ignorant that an insurgent army, emboldened by their success on those occasions, simultaneously advanced towards the Ohio river, threatening Cincinnati, while the force which had been victors at Manassas advanced from that point northward, crossed the Upper Potomac between Leesburg and Harper's Ferry, and occupied Fredericktown, in the State of Maryland. At that point they menaced equally Washington, Baltimore, and Harrisburg. These were the transactions of ten days, and they naturally excited profound alarm and, as usual, much discontent. Contrary to all principles of reasoning, the very boldness of these movements seemed to be an augury of the success of the insurgents in their avowed design to transfer the war to the soil of the loyal States.

But rashness in this, as in other cases, has received its rebuke and punishment. Yesterday we had information that the insurgents in the west had receded and were retreating without waiting to confront the forces prepared to receive them, and to-day we have General McClellan's report of a decisive battle fought by him with the insurgent army in Maryland, with the results of their retreat and flight, panic stricken, and demoralized. It is especially cheering to know that the new volunteers which had been incorporated into McClellan's army without having previously been under fire, and without even having been at all drilled, disciplined, or exercised, exhibited a perfect courage and steadiness in the conflict. The nation will acquire new courage, and its persevering resolution to preserve its integrity will be fortified by this great and auspicious victory.



I am, sir, your obedient servant,


JAMES S. Pike, Esq., &c., dec., dc.

Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.

No. 60.)


The Hague, September 17, 1862. Sir: I have had the honor to receive your circular despatch (No. 65) of August 18, your circular (No. 21) of the same date, and your despatch (No. 66) of the 26th of August.

Your information contained in the latter, that the junction of the armies under Generals McClellan and Pope had been safely effected, and received with great satisfaction. That satisfaction is, however, qualified by subsequent information brought by the telegraph, via Cape Race, to the 5th instant, to the effect that the federal forces have been forced back into their intrenchments on the Potomac.

Should this information prove true, it will be a disappointment to expectations formed on this side in respect to the strength and operations of our consolidated troops in Virginia.

We always look, however, for the authentic details of the news from America to be better for our cause than they are represented by the telegraplric reports of the hostile operators, with which we are constantly served. I have the honor 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. 70.]


Washington, September 19, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of September 3 (No. 59) has been received, and submitted to the President.

It is, indeed, pleasant to know that the anxiety of European capitalists about American credit has so far passed away that they are not unwilling to continue to receive the remunerative dividends paid by the loyal States and their flourishing corporations.

On the 6th instant Robert E. Lee, claiming to be general commanding all the insurgent armies, startled the country by appearing in Fredericktown with a force, as he alleged, of two hundred thousand men. He immediately proclaimed deliverance to the people of Maryland, and invited them to join the treasonable confederacy which he served. To-day, without having gained a hundred adherents in the State, and after being defeated in two pitched battles, he is recrossing, under the fire of the federal troops, into Virginia. This result is indicative of the moral soundness of the Union cause, as well as of the physical strength which it commands. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. JAMES S. PIKE, Esq., 8., &c., &c.

[blocks in formation]

The late repulse of our forces at Manassas, and the inroad of the confederate troops into Maryland, is regarded with great diversity of opinion on this side. By some they are considered to point to a speedy solution of our difficulties on the basis of a separation of the free and slave States. By others the invasion of Maryland is regarded as an event likely to lead to the destruction of the main army of the insurgents, and thus throw everything back upon the results of future campaigns, where the advantage would again be all on the side of the federal government.

Both these views have already found expression on the stock exchange, that sure barometer of public sentiment in commercial countries. The former in the advance of Virginia and other southern stocks, and the latter in the steadiness of northern securities, under the full torrent of adverse news and hostile criticism.

Every friend in Europe now awaits with infinite impatience and profound solicitude the march of events now in progress, pregnant, as they seemingly are, with results of the highest importance. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike. No. 72.]


Washington, October 8, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of September 17 (No. 60) has been received.

The unfavorable aspect of our affairs under which it was written has given place to another which illustrates the strength and vigor of the Union and the loyalty and enthusiasm of the people.

The repulsion of the insurgents from Maryland, Cincinnati, and Ohio, with the recent triumphs of the national arms in Missouri and Mississippi, need no explanations to show their importance. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. JAMES S. PIKE, Esq., &c., 8c., c.

« PreviousContinue »