Mr. Cameron to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that, after receiving your communication of June 9, relative to Mr. Collins’s plan of telegraphic communication between Russia and the United States, I requested of Prince Gortchacow an interview, for the purpose of an informal conversation upon the subject previous to the arrival of Mr. Collins. His excellency, who has not been in the city since my presentation to the Emperor, on the 25th ultimo, at once replied, stating that he would be happy to receive me at the imperial palace of Peterhof, about 18 miles from here, on the following day, Wednesday, the 16th instant. I presented myself at the appointed time, and was very cordially received by the Prince, who, however, while expressing the greatest interest in the proposed enterprise, desired that the plan of it should be presented in a definite form. This I promised to do immediately after the arrival of Mr. Collins. You will perceive from the remarks which I made to the Emperor on presenting my credentials, (communicated in despatch No. 2,) that I had already anticipated your instructions so far as to mention the subject to his Imperial Majesty. From the readiness with which he assented to the suggestion, as well as from the expressions used by Prince Gortchacow, I consider myself justified in inferring that Russia will be ready at the proper moment to co-operate with the United States in forwarding any plan of telegraphic communication between the two countries which shall seem to offer a reasonable chance of success.
I was accompanied to Peterhof by the other members of my family, including Mr. Bayard Taylor, secretary of legation, and by Mr. Haldeman, United States minister resident at Stockholm, who has paid me a brief visit. Prince Gortchacow, having been informed of the fact, (possibly by the hereditary prince, the Grand Duke Nicholas, who went to Peterhoff by the same train,) immediately despatched an imperial equipage, in order to convey the party to the palace, where a suite of rooms was placed at their disposal. After my interview a carriage and attendants were again furnished, and we were taken through all parts of the magnificent park and gardens. The immense system of artificial cataracts and fountains which is ranked among the finest hydraulic exhibitions in Europe was set in operation in order that we might witness it, and on our return to the palace we found that a sumptuous dinner had been provided. I take the liberty of mentioning [Page 450] these unusual marks of attention as another gratifying evidence of a special desire, on the part of the Emperor and his ministers, to impress our government, through its representative here, with the sincerity of their friendly sentiments.
There is no capital in Europe where the loyal American meets with such universal sympathy as St. Petersburg; none where the suppression of our unnatural rebellion will be hailed with more genuine satisfaction.
The “Journal de St. Petersburg,” the government organ here, continually cautions its readers against being deceived by the despatches from Renter’s Telegraphic bureau, in London—an office which the secessionists appear to have suborned, in order to distort the American news which it communicates to all the principal newspapers of the continent. During the past Week the Journal actually went so far in its generous partisanship for the Union as to omit a despatch from Renter, which appeared in the German papers, stating that the Union loss in the late battles before Richmond was from ten to thirty thousand men, and that the rebels had taken twelve thousand prisoners.
Nevertheless, it is right that I should express my conviction, slowly reached after a comparison of the principal European journals, that the idea of foreign intervention in the affairs of the United States is gradually becoming more familiar.
Europe is growing impatient under the loss which our struggle entails upon her; and the friends of the rebellion, counting not only its special agents, but the large class of those who view with dislike or dread the vast growth of our nation, are insidiously occupied in suggesting pretexts which would justify such an intervention in the eyes of the world.
A renewal of our previous successes, or the assumption of a policy as active and vigorous as the means of the government allow, may frustrate this plan; but every day of a delay, the necessity of which is not so patent that our enemies cannot possibly seize upon it as an evidence of weakness, adds to the danger.
I feel impelled to make this statement of the conclusion at which I have arrived, because I am not sure that the imminence of the danger is so apparent to the government of the United States. All those signs and indications which run before a step of this kind, and surely prepare the way for it, might easily escape the eyes of those who are so fully occupied with the great task before them. It is my duty to omit nothing, the knowledge of which may be of advantage to the government—least of all a point of such vast importance—and I trust that the foregoing words may be received, not, as offered in the spirit of intrusive advice, but of solemn conviction.
I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State,