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their own with no less fidelity. So Switzerland and the United States shall in after ages be honored as the founders of the only true and beneficent system of human government - a system that harn.onizes needful authority with the preservation of the natural rights of man. Every free citizen of Switzerland who comes here, so long as he remains, is practically a citizen of the United States. He goes in and out everywhere unchallenged. Nevertheless, the American citizen in Switzerland is a stranger, and the reiterated demand for his passport at every angle in his course reminds him painfully that he is suspected. His least elevated motive for going there is trade and commerce; but the objects of most of our citizens in visiting Alpine countries are health and study of the more sublime and attractive features of nature, and a fervent admiration for the free people who dwell among them.
In the United States there is not one man base enough to do or wish an injury to the enlightened government or to the people of Switzerland. Why, then, should not the government of that country make us conscious of its confidence by allowing us the enjoyment of national hospitality while we are sojourning in their beautiful country ?
Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike.
May 16, 1861. -- The government is preoccupied with the civil war which has been inaugurated with the reckless purpose of overthrowing the Constitution and the Federal Union. It has little time to think of our foreign relations, and when it does think of them it is chiefly to consider how and in what way it can most effectually counteract the efforts of the revolutionists to procure European intervention in their favor.
The Netherlands lost even their independence for a time through the disastrous operations of the French Revolution of 1789. They are slowly, but surely, recovering advantages and prestige which they enjoyed before that calamity occurred. Their policy is peace and friendship with all nations, and certainly they have always manifested the most liberal sentiments towards the United States. In view of these circumstances and dispositions the President does not apprehend any danger that the government of the Netherlands, or its very intelligent people, will lend aid, countenance, or sympathy to the misguided partisans who, in a frenzy of passion, are compassing the ruin of our country.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.
May 30, 1861. – Mr. Sanford, who was requested by me to look to our interests in Paris in the interval which might elapse between the withdrawal of Mr. Faulkner and your own arrival, has transmitted to me an account of a very interesting conversation which he has recently held with Mr. Thouvenel on our internal affairs.
In that conversation Mr. Thouvenel intimated that, in view of the great commercial interests which are involved in the domestic controversy which is now agitating the United States, the French government had felt itself constrained to take measures, in conjunction with the government of Great Britain, to meet a condition of things which imperiled those interests. That it had been decided that communications of a similar tenor should be addressed by both of those governments to the government of the United States, and that those communications would be forwarded in the current week. Mr. Thouvenel kindly foreshadowed the points of those communications.
As those papers may be expected to arrive by, perhaps, the next steamer, I shall reserve comments upon the propositions indicated until they shall thus be fully and directly brought to the attention of the President. There are, however, some points in the conversation, or suggested by it, which I cannot properly suffer to pass unnoticed.
First. I desire that Mr. Thouvenel may be informed that this government cannot but regard any communications beld the French government, even though unofficial, with the agents of the insurrectionary movement in this country as exceptionable and injurious to the dignity and honor of the United States. They protest against this intercourse, however, not so much on that ground as on another. They desire to maintain the most cordial relations with the government of France, and would therefore, if possible, refrain from complaint. But it is manifest that even an unofficial reception of the emissaries of disunion has a certain though measured tendency to give them a prestige which would encourage their efforts to prosecute a civil war destructive to the prosperity of this country and aimed at the overthrow of the government itself.
It is earnestly hoped that this protest may be sufficient to relieve this
government from the necessity of any action on the unpleasant subject to which it relates.
Secondly. The United States cannot for a moment allow the French government to rest under the delusive belief that they will be content to have the Confederate States recognized as a belligerent power by the states with which this nation is in amity. No concert of action among foreign states so recognizing the insurgents can reconcile the United States to such a proceeding, whatever may be the consequences of resistance.
Thirdly. The President turns away from these points of apprehended difference of opinion between the two governments to notice other and more agreeable subjects.
The tone of Mr. Thouvenel's conversation is frank, generous, and cordial ; and this government feels itself bound by new ties to France when her Emperor avows his desire for the perpetual union of the states. Especially does this government acknowledge that it is profoundly moved by the declaration of his Majesty, that he would be willing to act as mediator in the civil strife that unhappily convulses our country. These expressions of good will are just what have been expected from the Emperor of France. This government desires that his Majesty may be informed that it indulges not the least apprehension of a dissolution of the Union in this painful controversy. A favorable issue is deemed certain. What is wanted is that the war may be as short, and attended by as few calamities at home and as few injuries to friendly nations, as possible. No mediation could modify in the least degree the convictions of policy and duty under which this government is acting; while foreign intervention, even in the friendly form of mediation, would produce new and injurious complications. We are free to confess that so cordial is our regard for the Emperor and our confidence in his wisdom and justice, that his mediation would be accepted if all intervention of that kind were not deemed altogether inadmissible. This government perceives, as it thinks, that the French government is indulging in an exaggerated estimate of the moral power and material forces of the insurrection.' The government of the United States cheerfully excuses this error, because it knows how unintelligible the working of the American system and the real character of the American people are to European nations. This government knows, moreover, and painfully feels, that the
commercial interests of European states are so deeply involved in the restoration of our domestic peace as to excite the highest anxiety and impatience on their part. But it desires the French government to reflect that our commercial interests involved in the issue are even greater than their own; and that every motive that France can have for desiring peace operates still more powerfully on ourselves, besides a thousand motives peculiar to ourselves alone. The measures we have adopted, and are now vigorously pursuing, will terminate the unhappy contest at an early day, and be followed by benefits to ourselves and to all nations greater and better assured than those which have hitherto attended our national prog
Nothing is wanting to that success except that foreign nations shall leave us, as is our right, to manage our own affairs in our own way. They, as well as we, can only suffer by their intervention. No one, we are sure, can judge better than the Emperor of France how dangerous and deplorable would be the emergency that sliould intrude Europeans into the political contests of the American people.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.
June 3, 1861. - Every instruction you have received from this department is full of evidence of the fact that the principal danger in the present insurrection which the President has apprehended was that of foreign intervention, aid, or sympathy; and especially of suclı intervention, aid, or sympathy on the part of the government of Great Britain.
The justice of this apprehension has been vindicated by the following facts, namely: 1. A guarded reserve on the part of the British Secretary of State, when Mr. Dallas presented to him our protest against the recognition of the insurgents, which seemed to imply that, in some conditions, not explained to us, such a recognition might be made. 2. The contracting of an engagement by the government of Great Britain with that of France, without consulting us, to the effect that both governments should adopt one and the same course of procedure in regard to the insurrection. 3. Lord John Russell's announcement to Mr. Dallas that he was not un willing to receive the so-called commissioners of the insurgents unofficially. 4. The issue of the Queen's proclamation, remarkable, first, for the circumstances under which it was made, namely, on
the very day of your arrival in London, which had been anticipated so far as to provide for your reception by the British secretary, but without affording you the interview promised before any decisive action should be adopted; secondly, the tenor of the proclamation itself, which seems to recognize, in a vague manner, indeed, but does seem to recognize, the insurgents as a belligerent national power.
That proclamation, unmodified and unexplained, would leave us no alternative but to regard the government of Great Britain as questioning our free exercise of all the rights of self-defence guaranteed to us by our Constitution and the laws of nature and of nations to suppress the insurrection.
I should have proceeded at once to direct you to communicate to the British government the definitive views of the President on the grave subject, if there were not especial reasons for some little delay. These reasons are, first, Mr. Thouvenel has informed our representative at Paris that the two governments of Great Britain and France were preparing, and would, without delay, address communications to this government concerning the attitude to be assumed by them in regard to the insurrection. Their communications are bourly expected.
Second. You have already asked, and, it is presumed, will have obtained, an interview with the British secretary, and will have been able to present the general views of this government, and to learn definitely the purposes of Great Britain in the matter, after it shall have learned how unsatisfactory the action of the British government hitherto has been to the government of the United States.
The President is solicitous to show his high appreciation of every demonstration of consideration for the United States which the British government feels itself at liberty to make. He instructs me, therefore, to say that the prompt and cordial manner in which you were received, under peculiar circumstances arising out of domestic afflictions which had befallen her Majesty and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is very gratifying to this government.
A year ago the differences which had partially estranged the British and the American people from each other seemed to have been removed forever. It is painful to reflect that that ancient alienation has risen up again under circumstances which portend great social evils, if not disaster, to both countries.