Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
Sir: In my despatch No. 137 I fear I did not do full justice to your intentions in respect to the opening of cotton ports, expressed in your confidential despatch No. 133. I was a little surprised by the vague and general terms in which you expressed those intentions, and felt that the government here would not consider them as explicit and satisfactory as those heretofore used. Upon examining them with more care, they seem to me less vague than I at first supposed. As we have already taken possession of a considerable number of these ports, and have expressed ourselves as having no doubt of our ability to hold them, this government has doubtless expected, in view of our past assurances, that the blockade would, as to such ports, or some of them, be raised or modified. I have reassured Mr. Thouvenel on this subject to-day in accordance with your last despatch, and left it with him to be read. He said, as my conversation, to which it was a reply, was with the Emperor, he should submit the same to him personally; to which I, of course, cheerfully assented. The language of the despatch, in reference to the Emperor and to the course of our diplomatic negotiations for the past year cannot, I think, but be gratifying both to Mr. Thouvenel and his Majesty.
Upon my assuring Mr. Thouvenel of the disposition of our government to open cotton ports as soon as they could safely do so, he replied that he had just returned from a visit to certain of the manufacturing districts of France; * * * * * * * * * [Page 335] that it was most painful in some of the large manufacturing districts to see their immense establishments “not smoking,” or, in other words, “not at work,” and the population unemployed; that the distress was great, and the demand for cotton consequently most urgent.
I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
His Excellency William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.