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friendship, which "was based upon substantial interests,” should be lasting, he took leave of me.

am your
obedient servant,

C. M. CLAY. Hon. William H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Clay.

No. 108.)


Washington, December 13, 1864. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch of the 14th ultimo, No. 62, giving an account of your proceedings in carrying out the suggestions contained in the iustruction of the 24th of September last, No. 85, and

propos. ing that Mr. Burlingame be instructed to co-operate with the Russian authorities in any efforts they may make towards securing permission for the extension of a branch of the Collins overland telegraph into China. These proceedings are approved, and the courtesy of the Emperor on the occasion of the presentation of Messrs. Collins and Sibley is highly appreciated.

I have lost no time in addressing an instruction to Mr. Burlingame in the spirit of your proposition. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Cassius M. CLAY, Esq., dr., gr., gr.

P. 8.-I enclose a press copy of my instruction to Mr. Burlingame of this date.

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Mr. Seward to Mr. Clay. No. 110.)

Department of State,

Washington, December 19, 1864. Sir: I enclose herewith, for your information and guidance, a copy of an order issued by this department on the 17th instant, directing that, with the exception of immigrant passengers, no traveller shall be allowed to enter the United States without a passport signed and viséd by an American minister or consul. You will make this fact known to the Russian government. I am, sir, your obedient servant,




Washington, December 17, 1864. The President directs that, except immigrant passengers directly entering an American port by sea, henceforth no traveller shall be allowed to enter the United States from a foreign country without a passport. If a citizen, the passport must be from this department, or from some United States minister or consul abroad; and if an alien, from the competent authority of his own country; the passport to be countersigned by a diplomatic agent or consul of the United States.

This regulation is intended to apply especially to persons proposing to come to the United States from the neighboring British provinces. Its observance will be strictly enforced by all officers, civil, military, and naval, in the service of the United States, and the State and municipal authorities are requested to aid in its execution. It is expected, however, that no immigrant passenger, coming in manner aforesaid, will be obstructed, or any other persons who may set out on their way hither before intelligence of this regulation could reasonably be expected to reach the country from which they may have started.


Mr. Seward to Mr. Clay. No. 112.]


Washington, December 26, 1864. Sır: Your despatch of the 22d of November, No. 64, has been received. I thank you for the very interesting account it contains of a conversation with the Archduke Constantine. It manifests much sagacity, and certainly very friendly sentiments towards the United States. Nevertheless, the misconception of our actual condition which it reveals makes me wish it were possible for him to come out and spend a few months in America. I think it would be beneficial to us, and by no means unprofitable to Russia. I forbear from specifying my reasons. They will readily occur to you, as they would to

, his Imperial Majesty if his thoughts were once turned in that direction. Of one thing he might be assured : that coming as a guest of this government he would receive a cordial and most demonstrative welcome by it and by the people. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Cassius M. CLAY, Esq., 8., 8c., &c.

Mr. Clay to Mr. Seward. No. 68.]


St. Petersburg, Russia, January 8, 1865. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your despatches, Nos. 110 and 111, with the accompanying documents.

I have notified the Russian government of our now requiring passports from all visiters of the United States.

The department will possibly be interested in the following review of Russian liberalism :

1. Serf-eman,ipation.-Emancipation began with Nicholas I. The freedmen were not numerous, and were styled “ Paysans obligés,” which may be translated into “ bound peasants. They were liberated, but bound to pay an annual stipend for a term of years. There was also land given them in the western provinces on conditions, but all was imperfectly executed. Alexander II, upon ascending the imperial throne, pledged himself to "justice and mercy" in the administration of his empire. He has bravely and wisely redeemed his vows, by the liberation of about 22,000,000 of serfs in Russia and Poland. As the plan of Nicholas failed, perhaps, because, having no land, the serf was still dependent upon the proprietors, Alexander gave each serf land, to the amount of about an average of three English acres. The serf paid the landlord about nine roubles, $ 70, per desatine, (14 English acres,) and some personal service for a term of years. If the land was refused, the serf was free at once.

The government aids the serfs by loaning them money at six per cent. per annum, for fortynine years, when they are freed from further payment.

The quantity of land, the value thereof, and the terms of service, were determined by commissioners in the several provinces. The proceedings are voluminous, and the results variant. This illustrious decree was passed by the Emperor the 17th February, 1861, (0. S.) It has been bravely carried out. At first there was great opposition on the part of the nobles. The limited service was not understood by the peasants, and many mutinies broke out, which were often encouraged by the proprietors, but they were promptly put down by the army. The serfs were not slow to find out that the Emperor was their true friend; the army sympathized with the government, and the nobles were left without the power of resistance. The great fires in St. Petersburg (1862) were thought to be by their instigation, to create a pauper and revolutionary element. The Emperor came in from Tzarshot Leto, and without a guard, as is his custom. He rode alone with the Héritier and two aides-de-camp, and superintended the suppression of the fires, and by his courage extinguished all hopes of a successful revolt. Since then the system has, after a little “vis-inertiæ" at first, worked well, and proprietors look for an early recovery of their ancient revenues.

2. Municipal franchises. These extend to the economical expenditures of the local administrations, and to the election of justices of the peace, and so on.

3. New code of laws.—The new code of laws is the result of the work of a commission (who have studied all the codes of the more civilized nations) revised by the imperial council. It was promulgated by an ukase dated 20th November, 1864, (0. S.)

There are five tribunals : 1. Justices of the peace, elected for three years by the whole land-holders. 2. Sessions of justices—that is, a number of justices, forming a court of appeals from the decision of a single justice. 3. Circuit courts. 4. Judicial chambers. 5. The senate ; the highest court of appeal. All but justices of the peace are appointed by the Crown. The courts now will sit with open doors, verbal testimony will be allowed, attorneys appointed, and, in criminal cases, trial by jurors elected by the people. These great reforms are the beginning of a new era. Railroads and telegraphs and manufactures are encouraged. A great future lies before the nation. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Clay to Mr. Sercard. No. 70]


St. Petersburg, Russia, January 12-24, 1865. Sir: Your despatch No. 116 and circular No. 205 are received. The execution of your despatch No. 112 being left to my discretion, I refrained from making a formal invitation to the Grand Duke Constantine through the usual channel, the foreign department, thinking it best to communicate directly with himself. So last night, at a ball at the Winter Palace, I told him that our government had desired me to say that it would be agreeable to them to have him visit the United States for a few months—see our country and our people. That we understood the course he had taken in the liberal reforms of Russia; and whilst we were ready to honor all of the imperial family, yet there seemed to be espe. cial propriety in selecting him as the nation's guest. That he could dictate the terms of the invitation, could make it more formal, or come apparently of his own motion ; but that in either case we would give him such an ovation as had not often been seen since the fall of the Roman empire.

His Imperial Highness seemed much gratified at our good will. He said, “Nothing would give him more pleasure than to visit America ; that he had always desired to see it ; that it had been the intention of his father, the Emperor Nicholas, to send bim there, but that he had unfortunately married at about the age of nineteen years; that a man should never marry till he was twenty-five or thirty; that even now he should be glad to carry out his original design, but he had lately been appointed the president of the council of the empire, the duties of which were important just now; and he could not possibly be absent. He thanked me and the government for our kindness, and expressed again his regret at not being able to accept our hospitality." I urged him not to decide at once, but to take time for consideration. He replied, " he could not now alter his resolve ; but that he would not abandon forever the hope of yet seeing our country, and examining our navy for himself.”

During the same evening his Imperial Majesty said to me that his brother bad advised him of our conversation, and that he desired to return me his thanks for my amiable intentions towards his family. I replied that the government had left it to my discretion how to deliver their invitation ; and that I had thought it best to communicate directly with his imperial brother. He said I was quite right; but as the grand duke had been made president of the council, it was impossible now to spare his services.

So at present we must rest content with the result. I am convinced, however, that the compliment is duly appreciated, and will forward that good understanding between us, which seems to be more and more confirmed each year of my sojourn at this court.

Mr. J. Curtin was presented to his Imperial Majesty on the first of January, 1865, 0. S., and addressed him in the Russian language. To this fact, so rare here, the Emperor alluded last night, and said Mr. Curtin pronounced Russian like a native. Such compliments to Russian nationality, which is very intense, are not unappreciated here by the Emperor or the people. I am, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Clay. No. 121.)


JVashington, January 24, 1865. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of your communication of the 2d ultimo to the Russian minister for foreign affairs, upon the subject of the Chinese telegraph in completion of Mr. Collins's design of the intercontinental line. You will, by a perusal of my instruction of the 13th ultimo, (No. 108,) have confirmed your observation to Prince Gortchacow, that in your proceedings you but anticipated the wishes of this government. obedient servant,


I am, sir, your

Mr. Seward to Mr. Clay. No. 124.]

DeparTMENT OF Srate,

Washington, February 7, 1865. SIR : Your despatch of the 8th ultimo, No. 68, treating of the emancipation of the serfs, and the promulgation by the Emperor of a new code of laws, has

been received. These reforms are very creditable to the government of Russia, and they cannot but be gratifying to friends of liberty and humanity throughout the world. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Cassius M. Clay, Esq., c., fc., &c.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Clay.

No. 127.]


Washington, February 11, 1865. Sir: I have received your despatch of the 16th of January, No. 69. I shall take great pleasure in communicating to the navy the note of Vice-Admiral Kralbe, the Russian minister of marine, on the subject of the monitors,

Captain Glisson, of the Saintiago de Cuba, has just left me. He was active in the two terrific and effective bombardments of Fort Fisher. He speaks in terms of unbounded admiration of the monitors which were engaged on those occasions, and declares that while some of them have defects, not by any means irremediable, yet that as a class those vessels are invaluable for purposes of national defence. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Cassius M. CLAY, Esq., 8c., c., dr.

Mr. Scrard to Mr. Clay. No. 130.]


Washington, February 27, 1865. Sir: I have received your despatch of the 12th (24th) ultimo, No. 70, in which you inform me that you

had delivered to his Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Constantine the invitation which you were requested to convey to him in instruction No. 112. It gives me pleasure to express my approval and commendation of the manner in which you proceeded to comply with that request.

It is very much regretted that the grand duke is unable to accept the invitation; but it is hoped that at some future and not distant time he may find it possible so to honor the government and people of the United States. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Cassius M. CLAY, Esq., 8c., 8c., .

No. 72.]

Mr. Clay to Mr. Seward.

St. Petersburg, Russia, March 24, 1865. SIR: I have the honor to enclose you all the correspondence between this legation and the Russian government concerning the intercontinental telegraph, marked CCC.

I am glad to inform you, also, that the charter to P. McD. Collins & Co. has (after lorg and elaborate specifications made) been substantially agreed to, by the representatives of the company and the Russian government, as originally approved by the Emperor Alexander, in 1863, and is now the law of the land.

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