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Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 221.]


Washington, September 20, 1862. SIR: I have received your dispatch (No. 188) of September 3, which is accompanied by a petition addressed to the President by A. Girard, a captain in the French army, who offers to join our military forces with a corps of one thousand men, on condition that their transportation to the United States shall be paid. This paper has been referred to the Secretary of War, who, I doubt not, will bestow due consideration upon it.

Meantime it cannot be improper for me to mention that all foreigners, as well as many of our own citizens, widely misapprehend the manner in which the American armies are organized. They assume that the President has full authority to receive and commission at his pleasure all officers who may tender their services and to accept all masses of soldiers who may be anywhere enlisted, on terms and conditions fixed by himself.

On the contrary, the President, from the very exigencies of the case, charges himself with none of the details of organization. They are devolved upon the Secretary of War, and by his direction executed mainly under the superintendence of the general commanding the national forces, who is constantly at Washington. The regular army, or army proper, is small, and officered mainly from the pupils of West Point, and promotions are made according to seniority or merit, in 'cases of vacancy.

The great mass of our military forces consists of volunteers. These are raised by the governors of the States on requisitions of the President, in rateable proportion to the federal population. The volunteers choose their own company officers and the field officers of their respective regiments. All these officers derive their commissions from the governors, and vacancies are filled by promotion according to seniority. The President, by authority of Congress, appoints only general officers, quartermasters and paymasters for the volunteer forces. All the care of recruiting volunteer troops is exercised under and by authority of laws passed by Congress, which define the ways, means, bounties, wages, and pensions.

From this statement you will perceive that when an European officer tenders liis service with or without a body of soldiers, upon terms and conditions not conforming to the laws of Congress, he makes an offer which is imprac. ticable.

The President in July last called on the governors for 300,000 volunteers, and for 300,000 additional troops to be raised by draft. It is understood that the first mass of three hundred thousand is already enlisted and either in the field or in camp. The other three hundred thousand are not yet drafted because volunteers for the war are coming forward so rapidly as to induce the belief that the draft may be dispensed with. Any foreign officer coming on our shores with a body of men who should then enlist would doubtlessly be received with his recruits by the governor of the State, and the bounty money and wages they would speedily receive would be more than adequate to reimburse the expenses of transportation across the Atlantic. There, is however, no authority anywhere to make contracts in foreign countries for recruits.

One word more. We have become already a martial people. There is competition among our own citizens for every military command in any case of vacancy. The volunteers naturally prefer the command of one who is personally known to them, and who speaks their language, to that of a stranger, who has that language yet to learn. We have many foreign officers, as well as American, already in commission, for whom places are not esaily found;

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hence the reluctance of the military authorities to hold out inducements • even to meritorious foreigners.

These general statements are the results of my own observations, and are not made upon any understanding with the Secretary of War. When I shall have received his answer to the proposition of Captain Girard it will be communicated to you without delay. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


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Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 222.]


Washington, September 24, 1862. SIR: Your despatch of September 10 (No. 192) has been received. The exposition of your views in regard to the South American republics, which the paper contains, is entirely satisfactory to the President, and I am happy to say that he is now constantly receiving evidences of an improved and more friendly state of feeling on their part towards the United States. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. WM. L. Dayton, Esq., 80., 80., 8c.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton. No. 223.]


Washington, September 24, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of September 12 (No. 193) has been received, and the President authorizes me to express his satisfaction with the manner in which you have made the explanations therein mentioned, to Mr. Thouvenel. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. WILLIAM L. DAYTON, Esq., 80., 80., 80.,

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 224.]


Washington, September 24, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of September 12, No. 194, has been received, and your proceedings in making the explanations, therein recited, to Mr. Thouvenel are approved by the President. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. William L. DAYTON, Esq., fr., Sc., Sc.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 225.]


Washinglon, September 24, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of September 9 (No. 191) has been received. The President is gratified with the attention you have given to the instructions contained in my circular of the 8th ultimo, in relation to an increase of immigration. Your valuable suggestions of the desirableness of effecting a reduction of the fares for passage on board of emigrant ships have been submitted to the several chambers of commerce on the seaboard, and I hope that, through their exertions, the measure proposed may be promptly effected. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Wm. L. Dayton, Esq., &c., &c., dc.

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

No. 179.]

Paris, August 4, 1862. Sir: On Friday last I submitted to Mr. Rouher, minister of foreign affairs ad interim, your despatch No. 180, with the accompanying translation of the letter to you from Mr. Herran, minister from the republic of New Grenada. Having stated to him the general contents of these papers, I told him I would leave the same to be read, and would be happy to have, at the convenience of the French government, a written reply. He said that in the absence of Mr. Thouvenel, it would not be possible to give a definite answer, but the subjectmatter should have attention immediately upon his return. It is expected, I believe, that he will return this week. I am, sir, your very obedient servant,

WM. L. DAYTON. His excellency WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, fr., fr., dr.

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

No. 182.]

Paris, August 8, 1862. Sir: I have not written you for some time past about Mexican affairs, because I have felt that you already understand the intentions of this government in the premises as well as can be gathered from their declarations.

I have no reason to suppose they mean otherwise than as they have heretofore stated. They will get their large reinforcements to Vera Cruz and disembark them after the sickly season, and march to Mexico if they can. They have, however, lost faith, as I am informed, in Almonte, and are not further disposed to jeopard their cause by identifying it with him or his interests. In the meantime I learn from a private despatch (which I have seen) from the minister of foreign affairs in Mexico to

that the government of Juarez yet entertains a hope of being able to induce the government of France to negotiate with it, and thus end the invasion. This hope, however, is founded principally upon the mistaken belief that France would not send out to Mexico further

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reenforcements. If a fair opening shall occur by which she, France, can retire with her bonor, her disposition, I think, would be to do so. General Concha, the newly arrived ambassador from Spain at this court, will be received, it is said, at an early day. An attempt is being made through the journals to induce a belief that Spain is willing again to co-operate with France in Mexico. That she wishes to re-establish the friendly feeling and intercourse between the two countries (slightly clouded by the retirement of General Prim from Mexico) is not to be doubted, but I cannot suppose that she will for a moment enter into avy new arrangement inconsistent with the original convention adopted in Lon. don between the three powers. General Miramon has again left France and sailed, or is about to sail, with his family for the United States.

I have been informed that certain officials of the government of Guatemala, in Paris, have said that it was not, and had not in any event been, the intention of that country to connect itself with Mexico, but that should Mexico adopt another form of government it would probably follow her example. The fact is that the great body of the citizens of Central America (so far as I can judge from their representatives at this court, have a very imperfect idea of what republican gov. ernment is.

There is nothing specially new or interesting licre at this moment. The Emperor's fête, which takes place the 15th inst., is now, by anticipation, attracting the attention of Paris. Great preparations are being made for its celebration. Amongst other matters, the Emperor on that day receives the officers of state, and the whole diplomatic corps dine with the minister of foreign affairs. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency William H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, fro, &c., 8c.

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward. No. 183.]

Paris, August 28, 1862. Sir: An absence for the last few days, on a visit to my family in Switzerland, has interrupted our correspondence. In the meantime (with the exception of 186) your despatches from No. 184 to No. 198, both inclusive, have been received at the legation.

No. 185 contains a copy of your despatch to Mr. Adams in reference to a conference between him and Mr. - on the subject of cotton, intervention, &c. No. 194 likewise contains the copy of a most interesting despatch to Mr. Adams, under date of the 2d inst., with certain correspondence between General Butler and Hon. R. Johnson, and the copy of a note from General Halleck.

I am happy to have received the copy of this despatch to Mr. Adams, pointing out in advance such course of conduct as would be agreeable to the governmeut at home in certain contingencies therein referred to. I take it for granted that the rule of conduct prescribed for Mr. Adams will, under like circumstances, apply to myself. I have no reason at present to suppose that there will be occasion for its immediate application, but am happy to be possessed of proper information to meet contingencies.

I had hoped to see Mr. Thouvenel to-day in reference to the despatch about Guatemala, but was notified this morning that the conference with the diplomatic corps would be postponed until to-morrow. That matter will therefore have to go over to the mail by the steainer of next week. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency William H. Seward,

Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

No. 189.)

Paris, September 3, 1862. Sir: Your despatch to me No. 192 and your confidential despatch to Mr. Adams, No. 322, of which you send me a copy, treat, so far as France is concerned, of the same matter, to wit: the probabilities of the Emperor interfering in the affairs of our country. I have taken occasion to inform you heretofore that I feel myself justified in relying upon the friendly feeling of this country until I shall have some official intimation to the contrary. It is true that at a court where there is a power-a thinking, acting power-behind the minister with whom one communicates, we can never feel quite sure of our position; yet I cannot permit myself to be disturbed by the alternation of rumors referred to in the extract from Mr. Adams's confidential despatch, No. 197. I listen to all such reports with the utmost distrust. Paris is full of emissaries, or rather emigrants, (if I may call them so,) male and female, from the south; most of them have come to Europe or remain in Europe to avoid the danger of a residence at home. But while careful to absent themselves, they apparently think of nothing else, and speak of nothing else, but the war, and the certain success of the south. They mix in society, and pick up every rumor afloat on its surface, magnify it, reproduce it, and finally themselves, I have the charity to suppose, believe it. Eveu Mr. Slidell, as early as last winter, gave to a gentleman in Paris of the highest character, the most distinct assurance, founded, as he said, upon certain knowl. edge, that the south would be recognized in 60 or 90 days, and advised him to make his business arrangements accordingly; yet at that period, notwithstanding the talk in a certain official coterie, there was not even a chance of recognition. The very fact that these rumors of intended interference upon the part of the Emperor are afloat should make us distrust their truth; the Emperor does not do things in that way; he does not take counsel of the world before he acts. His very reticence and the reticence of Mr. Thouvenel, in the midst of these news. paper statements, have sometimes made me uneasy, and I have therefore wished to know what was said by Mr. Mercier at Washington. But there has been at no time, in my judgment, just ground for believing, as reported to you, “ that the Emperor has directed Mr. Slidell to instruct Mr. Mason to make another formal appeal to Earl Russell preliminary to his own separate and exclusive action.” The very form of the proposition is to my mind evidence of its falsity.

You say (in despatch No. 192) there has not been a weck since the war commenced that somebody has not conveyed to you statements implying hostile designs upon the part of the Emperor; this I can well understand. Our citizens, and sometimes even officials, transiently in Paris, who should know better, pick up these rumors, become excited, hurry first to the legation, then write to the department. It is a singular fact that every American citizen abroad thinks himself entitled to know everything that has ever passed between our government and the Emperor, and is very much dissatisfied unless I at once make a clean breast of it. No reliance at all is to be placed upon reports transmitted to you from such quarters; if right at all, they are so by accident.

Nothing has occurred here of any official character, not already reported, to justify the belief that the Emperor intends to interfere with us. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency William H. SEWARD, fc., gr., sc.

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