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Mr. Sanford to Dr. Seward.

(Extract.] No. 43.)


Brussels, January 9, 1862. * *

A despatch from the English government to its representative bere, Lord IIoward De Walden, states that Messrs. Mason and Slidell have been given up. Should this prove to be the case, the effect will be highly favorable to us in continental Europe. The eagerness with which the different powers have hastened to put us in the wrong and Eng. land in the right, the desire evinced that we should not defend English law, but yield, shows, if not a lively interest in the preservation of the Union as a counterpoise, at least a lively jealousy at the increase of British influence, the augmentation of whose power they wish to thwart. I observe that in all their notes they inake a point of avoiding an expression of opinion on the legal question, because they know the seizure was in conformity with the principle of law, as declared and practiced by Great Britain and submitted to by all others, though the principle has always been opposed or reluctantly yielded by the continental powers and ourselves. They now unanimously reassert the true doctrine, which, as before said, puts England in the right and us in the wrong, in this case, and I cannot doubt that the result will be valuable as forcing England to abandon definitely her old position touching belligerent rights; and the evidence of jealousy and feeling of other powers, as ready to profit of her exigencies as she is to take advautage of ours, is also not without value. I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. S. SANFORD. Hon. William H. SEWARD,

Secretary of Stale, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

No. 46.]


Brussels, January 14, 1862. Sır: The news of the settlement of the “Trent” affair has given universal satisfaction here. As influencing public opinion, it has caused a very cousiderable reaction in our favor, which, I doubt not, will gather strength.

The surrender by England, when they are applied to herself, of her own cherished principles of international law, principles which she bas ever enforced and practiced upon unwilling Europe, is considered a great gain. I hope she will not prove apostate to her new faith; and the eagerpress and unanimity with which the great powers have, while avoiding discussion of an act in conformity with her established usage, urged us to yield in favor of neutral rights, and thus secure Great Britain in her new position, are significant, in my view of it, of anything rather than sympathy for England or hostility to ourselves. England can hardly congratulate herself upon this intervention, which indicates not alone the desire to secure a recognition of the more liberal extension of neutral rights, but a jealousy of an attempt to cripple a power recognized as a necessary counterpoise in the world's affairs. The eagerness of the government which, ignoring its own precepts and believing its own practices, seeks a pretext to faston a war

and disaster upon us is now exposed, and, it is to be hoped, will meet fitting retribution at home and abroad. The sentiment is universal here that she will now, failing in this pretext, seek one upon the question of the inefficiency of our blockade. I look to Parliament, public opinion, and the success which I confidently expect we shall, in the next thirty days, have tidings of, to squelch out this further attempt of a selfish and jealous governing class to destroy our power and check our development.

The cry now sought to be raised about the “vandalism” of shutting up a port with hulks instead of bombarding and destroying it and its inhabitants, is in keeping with the whole transaction. My opinion is, our cause is at this day stronger in Europe than at any time before, since the Bull Run affair. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State.

Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

[Extract] No. 55.]

LEGATION of the United States,

Brussels, March 20, 1862. SIR:

Politically, I have little of moment to report. The impression created by the brilliant successes of our arms is steadily gaining strength in all circles, that we are surely to triumph over the rebellion, and is reflected in the organs of public sentiment, and in the language of the governing classes, who, whatever their secret antipathies to a system of government whose success assures new agitation and revolutions in old Europe, speak now most respectfully of a government whose unexpected strength and resources, as evidenced in the war, has made a deep impression upon them. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


Secretary of State.

Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.


No. 58.]


Brussels, April 3, 1862. Sir:

The general sentiment touching our affairs is excellent. The message of the President, with respect to slavery, bas been read with almost unanimous encomiums.

With the increasing respect which the success of our arms causes in the general conviction that the rebellion is nearly crushed out, and the continued rout or surrender of its forces befure our armies, in contrast with the vain-glorious boastings of their leaders, has been a source of contemptuous comment.

No one event in the course of the war has excited more interest in Europe than the naval action in Hampton roads. Its results can hardly be measured. It is admitted on all sides that the “Monitor” has revolutionized the whole system of maritime warfare. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


Secretary of State.

Mr. Sanford to Mr. Sevard.

No. 66.]


Brussels, August 26, 1862. Sir: I have the honor to report to you my arrival at Liverpool on the 9th, and at my post on the 23d instant.

I saw M. Rogier on the occasion of a friendly call the following day. He was preparing for a journey to England the next morning, and our conversation on public topics was quite informal.

He assured me, in answer to my inquiry, that his government had not been approached by any of the other powers with a view to joint action in respect to the war in the United States. Belgium was a neutral and a small power, he said, and could not be expected to take part in such schemes did they exist. They were suffering greatly from the effects of the war, he continued, and he inquired as to its probable duration and if there was no prospect of a compromise. I replied, the duration of the war would depend very much on the encouragement given to the insurgents by European powers, that they had to thank for the present distress the eager haste of Èngland and others in according belligerent rights to the insurgents in anticipation of hostilities, and which greatly stimulated and aided their efforts; that there was no thought of compromise or cessation of the war till the whole country had returned to its allegiance. The war was a domestic affair, in which neither intermeddling nor intervention would be tolerated from any quarter. We were grieved that its effects weighed so heavily on Europe, but it was Europe that had constantly reproached us with the crime of slavery, and urged upon us its abolition, and it was but fair it should now bear its share of the burdens which the war, the result of that "institution," and which would probably cause its extinction, had created.

M. Rogier remarked that the condition of the negro, if free, did not seem to be much ameliorated in the northern States, where he was not tolerated as an equal, and inquired what would be done with the slaves if emancipated. With regard to that, I replied, there certainly was a prejudice in the United States against the African race, which local and municipal legislation had given expression to, and certainly the negroes, a tropical race, had not thriven por could thrive in the temperate regions of the north, and were, consequently, not generally regarded with favor. I did not perceive why they miglit not labor as freed inen as well in the southern States as in a condition of slavery. They were found, as slaves, to be a source of great profit to their masters; why could not their labor be turned to their own profit? It was certain that the white man could not be employed to advantage in tropical cultivation, and it seemed to me that the negro, or some other tropical race, would always be needed there to cultivate the free cotton and rice, to take hereafter the place of slave-grown cotton and rice. I had been struck on a recent visit to the French and Danish West India colonies

with the good results attending a judicious administration of their vagrant or labor laws. I found that the emancipated blacks were happy, contented, and laborious, and that the products of the islands were steadily increasing with their free labor. But these were questions to be treated as they arose.

The war, I went on to say, had its origin in the ambition of a few politicians who had sought to build up a slave empire for the benefit of themselves and a small oligarchy of slaveholders, and for the overthrow of liberal institutions and universal suffrage. Unlike revolutions in old Europe, this was an aristocratic party against democracy. They had, under various false pretences as the war progressed, induced a large portion of the popullation to join in resisting the federal authority, and the struggle would, I feared, be a long one. Our present care, I continued, was to restore the authority of the laws; if slavery, the cause of it,' was destroyed in the process, it would be for us to provide as we could for that event.

Mr. Dudley Mann, agent for the insurgents, is still here and has vainly sought to be received by the government. He has sent a long communication to Mr. Rogier, in favor of the cause he represents, which has received no reply.

The King is still an invalid, and still under the care of physicians, but is much better than at the time of my departure. The Queen of England is expected here to make him a visit of three days, on her way to Cobourg, a few days bence. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant.


Secrelary of State.

Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

No. 67.]


Brussels, September 2, 1862. Sir: I returned yesterday from Ghent, where I have been to inform myself concerning the condition of the working classes, as affected by the scarcity of cotton. For months past public and private charity throughout the kingdom have bcen invoked in behalf of the distressed workmen in Gbent, and those appeals have been responded to with great liberality by all classes of people in the country, who have contributed over 350,000 francs in aid of these suffering artizans.

Ghent is, as you are doubtless aware, the principal centre of cotton manufacture in Belgium, about two-thirds of the 70,000 bales manufactured in this country being consumed in that city, and employing, of the 40,000 workmen engaged there in various branches of manufacturing industry, 10,157, in nearly equal proportions as cotton spinners and weavers. Of these, 3,818 are entirely out of work, and of the remainder 3,650 are employed from five to nine hours per diem, 1,472 from nine to twelve hours, and 1,217 from twelve to fourteen hours in the day.

The plan first proposed, of employing these people on the public works, has been abandoned, as they are found to be physically unfit for out-of-door labor, and where not sent, as has been and is still done, so far as practicable, to districts occupied in other branches of manufacturing, such as linens, woollens, &c., they will have to be supported by public or private contributions.

The result of my visit to Ghent has been but to confirm the impression

which inquiries elsewhere had created, that the distress of the workmen in the cotton manufacturing districts is not to be ascribed solely to the want of cotton and to the war in the United States, but rather to the over-production of previous years, which had led to accumulation of stocks of mapufactured goods. Thus the price of American cotton has increased since the commencement of the war four fold and India cotton five fold, while the price of the manufactured goods in ordinary use bas only doubled in the same period. The manufacturers with whom I conversed all admitted that the difficulty for their workmen was not want of cotton, but want of orders, those mills which are the most occupied now being engaged in filling orders dating long back, and from cotton purchased months ago; that they liave the English market to buy from, and do buy as they need for the trifling orders they receive; that' American cotton is not a necessity; on the contrary, that they are learning to do without it, not five per cent. of their present consumption being from the United States, the India cotton having taken its place, and the stock thus far (340,000 bales are now on the way from India) has been, and is likely to be for some months to come, sufficient for the diminished demand of manufacturers.

The war has, in fact, been a piece of good fortune to the cotton manufacturers generally, insomuch as they have made, probably, more money from the rise of cotton (the manufacturers of Lancashire are reputed to have made from twenty to thirty millions of pounds sterling) than they would have gained in their ordinary business had there been no scarcity, and they have also been saved from a crisis, the result of over-production, which would have certainly thrown many workmen out of employ and caused similar distress to that which is now so industriously ascribed to the war in the United States.

Cotton has been also sold in Ghent for exportation, but the amount is small. To the honor of the manufacturers, there seems to have been less disposition in Belgium to speculate in cotton and sell their stocks, leaving their workmen idle, than in neighboring countries. I have also observed that there seems no disposition here to mislead the working classes with regard to the real cause of their distress.

It is a source of satisfaction to observe that the appeals made in other countries to the passions of the working classes in ascribing their sufferings as due to "the injurious and useless war in the United States” have been thus far without the desired result of exciting hostility to the cause of the Union and consequent favor to that of the rebellion. So far as I have had opportunity by contact with them, or those who represent them here and elsewhere, they feel that they have a part in this war for which they are ready, if need be, to suffer, as they suffer now, and have before, from the speculations of their masters; that it is a cause worth suffering for, that of humanity, of freedom and self-government; that democratic institutions, which the people everywhere in the civilized world hold in affection, are now on their trial, and that upon its issue depends greatly the cause of progress and of liberal institutions everywhere. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

H. S. SANFORD. Hon. Willia: H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State.

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