Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.


No. 22.]


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Your answer to offers of service and of materiel of war seems to have been judicious. If the War Department should find need for the latter, it will commission proper agents. As for the former, the offers for military service, and by our own citizens, surpass equally our calls and our needs. Colonel Frémont’s purchases are thankfully approved, and the drafts of yourself and Mr. Adams, mentioned by you, will be accepted. The President expresses great satisfaction with the promptness and decision manifested by you in the matter.

We wish to act singly and in good faith with the French government. We understand, and shall continue to understand, that France does not concede belligerent rights to the insurgents in contravention of our sovereignty. We shall insist that she does nothing adverse to our position, whatever may be said to the contrary.

She has proposed to tell us that she thinks the confederate States are entitled to belligerent rights. We have declined to hear that. We have not heard it. We shall continue to regard France as respecting our government, throughout the whole country, until she practically acts in violation of her friendly obligations to us, as we understand them. When she does that, it will be time enough to inquire whether, if we accede to the treaty of Paris, she could, after that, allow pirates upon our commerce shelter in her ports; and what our remedy then should be. We have no fear on this head.

We are dealing now as a nation at peace with France as a friend. We have told her that we shall not consent to her change of this relation.

She knows, distinctly, if she accepts our adhesion to the declaration of the congress of Paris, the ground on which it is given by us.

While saying this, however, we also confess that our solicitude on the subject is not so intense now, since the responsibility for the next step remains with France and not with us.

Still we wish you to act directly and frankly, being always ready to perform all we have offered.

This despatch is strictly confidential.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,