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Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 229.]


Washington, October 3, 1862. SIR: Your despatch of September 13 (No. 195) has been received. proceedings in calling Mr. Thouvenel's attention to the many rumors circulated by the press concerning Mr. Slidell's advances towards the French government seem to have been very discreet, and they are approved. Without making it the

. occasion of a formal communication to Mr. Thouvenel, it is proper that you should express in a casual manner to him the very favorable impression which his frank and candid explanations have made upon the mind of the President. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Willian L. DAYTON, Esq., fr., fr., &c.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 247.)


Washington, November 4, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of October 17 (No. 211) has been received. It communicates the fact of the resignation of Mr. Thouvenel, and of its presumed political signification. With the latter this government has no especial concern, though it

may be allowed to express the hope that the change will be conducive to the interests of France. The character of the new minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys, is held in such high respect here as to authorize an expectation that he will be found not only wise in regard to the interest of France, but also just upon all questions which may affect the relations of this country towards that empire. At the same time I feel assured that he will excuse me for asking you to express to Mr. Thouvenel the high consideration with which he is regarded on his retirement from his arduous duties by the President, together with his best wishes and those of our whole country for Mr. Thouvenel's future happiness and welfare sentiments of which, from the most sincere esteem for Mr. Thouvenel, I am happy to be the organ. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

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

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 246.)


Washington, November 4, 1862. SIR: Your despatch of October 14 (No. 208) has been submitted to the President.

You inform us virtually that those very interpreters of public opinion, who four weeks ago could see no merit in our saving our country because the President seemed to be willing to tolerate slavery to effect that end, now pronounce the preservation of the Union to be equally undesirable because it is contingently proposed to abolish slavery in the insurrectionary States to effect that great end." When inconsistencies like this are practiced in the name of enlightened nations in regard to other states, how fortunate is it that the laws of nature leave it to such states alone, under the favor of God, to regulate their own affairs, and work out their own destinies.

Just about one hundred years ago two great political revolutions began, upon which were largely suspended the interests of the human race.

The first was the emancipation of this continent from European authority; the second was the abolition of the European system of African slavery. With certain incidental and temporary reactions, such as are common to every great reformatory movement, the United States have persistently and successfully carried forward these two revolutions by gradual means and no others, never acting hastily nor resorting to aggression against any nation, any interest, or any class of men; and at the same time never shrinking from needful self-defence when they encountered unprovoked violence. Although Europe seems to be falling back to the very ground which it held in regard to both of these revolutions when they began, the United States will, nevertheless, steadily persevere with their habitual energy and moderation in the tasks which the Almighty seems to have allotted to them, conscious that though the labor and the sacrifices are theirs, the benefits will belong to mankind. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. William L. DAYTON, Esq., fr., &c., fr.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 245.]


Washington, November 4, 1862. Sir: The steamer having been detained by adverse winds, the incoming mail arrives just at the moment when the outgoing one is being closed., A special notice of your despatches must therefore be delayed.

The military and naval movements in all directions are onward and satisfactory. Those who in Europe are reckoning that the situation is to remain unchanged will discern their error in time, it is hoped, to change the policy they seem now to be pursuing. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Wm. L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., fr., c.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton. No. 248.)


Washington, November 10, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of the 21st of October, No. 213, has been submitted to the President. Your observations upon the personal change which has occurred in the French ministry, and the motives and probable fruits of that measure, are very interesting and instructive. Removed so far from the theatre in which France acts her conspicuous part, and yet attached to that country, under all circumstances, by memories of national kindnesses and sympathies, we are content with believing that the Emperor understands the interests of the nation ; and hoping that all his measures may redound to its prosperity and advancement, I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD! WM. L. DAYTON, Esq., &c., 8c., fr.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 249.]


Washington, November 10, 1862. Sır: Your despatch of October 23 (No. 214) has been received. The President is pleased with your proceeding in transmitting to me a copy of the letter written by his Majesty the Emperor to General De Lorencez, on the subject of the war in Mexico.

It is hardly necessary to inform you that this government has not attached any such importance to the speculations of the European press as to apprehend that the government of France combines any hidden design against the United States with the military operations it is carrying on in Mexico. To speculators in the political field everything seems probable. But those who know how much of talent, wealth, energy, and force any single military movement, how. ever simple, either at home or abroad, exacts, and how wrong and how dangerous it is to undervalue obstacles and resistance, will be able generally to presume ninety and nine out of one hundred of all the designs attributed to any great power improbable because they are impracticable. There are many people in every country who are reckless of war, its costs, its hazards, and its sufferings. I think that, on the other hand, there is no one enlightened state on either continent that does not desire to avoid war so long as it can safely preserve peace. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

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

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

No. 220.]

Paris, November 6, 1862. Sir: The receipt of your circular No. 25 and of despatch No. 237 are hereby acknowledged.

I have to-day had a conversation of some length with M. Drouyn de l’Huys in reference to our affairs. I told him that circumstances were such as to induce me to ask him distinctly whether any action was in contemplation by France, or by France conjointly with other powers, in reference to the condition of things in our country. He said no; that everything remained as it had done for some time past. That France, in common with the other powers of Europe, very much regretted the war and its continuance, but they had no purpose to intervene or interfere in any way. I then said to him I had seen it stated that France, England, and Russia were conferring upon the propriety of offering mediation. He said that the wish that the war could be ended, or that some thing could be done, with the assent of the belligerent parties, had been spoken of, and it was yet spoken of, but nothing had been resolved upon. In further conversation he said that France reserved to herself the right to express this wish to the parties if it should be thought advisable to do so, or that good would grow out of it. I told him that this at once brought us back to the starting point; that the expression of such wish would be, I presumed, but an offer of mediation in another form. He said no; if there were any word which could express less than “modiation,” that such word should be used in its place.

To test the character of this offer or suggestion, which he reserved to himself the right to make, I said: suppose your offer or suggestion, if made, shall be refused, what will be the consequences? He said, “nothing;” that we would be friends, as we had been before. I told him that I had just seen it stated in the English press that some such offer of mediation was to be made by the three powers, and, in the event of our refusal to accept it, the independence of the south was to be acknowledged. He said that was not so; that no such consequences would follow a refusal upon our part; that things would remain as before. I told him that we should look upon an acknowledgment of the south as but a form of intervention. To this he assented, and said they did not think of intruding into our affairs in any way, or interventing in any form; that their intent would be comprised in the expression of a wish to be useful, if it could be done with the assent of both parties. I told him that the Emperor, at an early day, had expressed such wish, and that he had been willing to act the part of a friend between the two, if they should mutually request it. He said that such was yet his disposition, and nothing more, except that the calamities of this civil war had increased and strengthened the wish on his part.

I may add that I said to M. Drouyn de l'Huys, unofficially, however, as I told him, that such an offer, if it should even be made, would come to nothing.

The above was the gist of the conversation, although other matters were embraced in it of which I may write you hereafter. As a whole, the conversation was very satisfactory, and I send it to you at once. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

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

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

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 258.]


Washington, November 21, 1862. SIR: Your despatch of November 6 (No. 220) has been received.

The President is very well satisfied with the explanations Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys has given to you of the views of the Emperor in regard to American affairs. The exposition of the views of this government, which you gave to the minister for foreign affairs in return, is approved. You may communicate to him the substance of this despatch. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD William L. Daytox, Esq., fr., fr., fr.

Mr. Mercier to Mr. Seward.



Washington, December 7, 1861. Sir: I have received the note you did me the honor to address to me, dated November 21, on the subject of a desire expressed by a number of French settled at the city of New Orleans to leave that place, and to return to Europe without being hindered by the blockade. I thank you for the favorable inclinations you have been pleased to show under these circumstances in favor of those of our nation. To put them in the way of profiting with the least delay of this benefit, I hastened to communicate your reply to the admiral commanding the naval forces of his Majesty in the Gulf of Mexico, and he has just made known to me that the number of French desiring to embark is too considerable to be transported on a vessel-of-war. He therefore suggests to me, as the only means of meeting their wishes, to send a vessel to New Orleans which shall take on board a certain number of delegates of our nation, who shall go to Havana and there charter and equip neutral vessels, which shall proceed to New Orleans under the supervision of a vessel-of-war, and there receive the Frenchmen and their families, after they shall have fulfilled all the conditions which you have indicated to me, and conformed to the obligations imposed by the most strict neutrality.

I need not add, sir, that if this plan merits your approval you may rest assured that it will be executed on the part of his Majesty's officers with the most scrupulous care.

I profit by this occasion to repeat to you, sir, the assurance of my high conI gideration.


Mr. Seward to Mr. Mercier.

tion you


Washington, December 11, 1861. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 7th instant, and to say, in reply, that this government readily accedes to the sugges

have made in regard to the removal of French citizens from New Orleans to their native country. Any French ship-of-war that you may designate will be at liberty to proceed to the bar of the Mississippi and take on board a convenient number of French subjects, who shall be delegates of the French subjects residing there, and convey them to Havana, where they may charter, engage, and equip vessels of any nation friendly to the United States, and return with them to the bar of the Mississippi, and there receive and convey thence to France any French subjects, with their families, of the same class, and their private personal effects, the equipment, engagement, and charter of such vessels, and the embarkation and departure of such vessels with the returning emigrants to be conducted under the supervision of the officer of the French ship-of-war; it being understood that he will take care that this proceeding shall not be made in any way a means for commercial transactions of any kind, or for the conveyance of any political despatches or correspondence affecting this country, and

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