Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
Sir: The receipt of your despatches No. 111 to 117, both inclusive, is hereby acknowledged.
No. 112 enclosed the copy of a despatch (No. 186) addressed to Mr. Adams, and the copy of a telegram, then just received, as to the capture of Fort Donelson. No. 113 enclosed a copy of a communication to your department from the consul-general of the United States at Havana, relative to the vessels which have run the blockade to or from the ports of Cuba. No. 117 enclosed the commissions of Joseph Vandor and Josiah Thomas, appointed consuls, respectively, at Tahiti and Algiers. Application was at once made for their several exequaturs. I received at the same time (March 13) a package from the French legation at Washington, enclosed for Mr. Thouvenel, which was immediately delivered. Your despatch No 114 is in answer to mine of January 2t (No. 109) and I am happy to find that the general views presented by me to Mr. Thouvenel, in the conference reported in that despatch, conformed so nearly to the views and purposes of the government stated by you.
I had, yesterday, another conversation with Mr. Thouvenel on the same general subject. I stated to him the contents of your despatch No. 114, and left with him a copy, which he said he would read and consider with care. I left with him, likewise, a copy of the communication addressed by you to Lord Lyons. He asked again most anxiously when they should have cotton. I referred him to your despatch, and assured him (as I have heretofore informed you that I had assured the Emperor) of our earnest desire to afford the earliest facilities to foreign governments for the procurement of it. He said that petitions and memorials were being daily addressed to the Emperor on this subject; that the suffering and destitution in certain portions of France for want of it were constantly on the increase. Do not delay action, I beg of you, a day beyond the time that you can act on this subject with propriety. He spoke, likewise, of the importance of allowing certain facilities for the transportation of letters to the south, to which subject I have heretofore referred. He thought that open letters might be permitted to be sent through the several consuls of foreign powers, charged by their governments with seeing that nothing but mere mercantile letters should be sent. This privilege could certainly be granted without much detriment, although it might possibly be some. I sincerely hope that something will [Page 322] be done upon this subject. The objection to sending such letters through sources of our own would seem to be that it would involve a new system, give rise to complications, and charge the government with a great deal of trouble. I told him that I had recently seen it stated in an American newspaper that you were maturing a plan for this purpose, and I thought it would soon be carried into effect.
I assured him that unless all our hopes failed, this insurrection was drawing to its close. He said Mr. Mercier likewise had so written to them. I may add here that within the last few days a very considerable number of arrests (at least seventy) have been made in Paris, of persons charged with revolutionary designs and purposes. They are generally young men who have been agitating for revolution, in secret societies and otherwise. Large numbers of the population of Paris, especially in the Faubourg St. Antoine, are out of employment, and of course up for mischief. Though little is publicly said, I can readily understand that the government is kept on the “qui vive.” But this agitation will amount to nothing: the Emperor is firmly seated, and unless some very unexpected event shall arise, his power, so long as he lives, is as secure as that of any monarch in Europe.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
His Excellency William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.