Mr. Seward to Mr. Perry.
Sir: Your despatch of March 30 (No. 46) has been received. Your treatment of the subject of our present relations with Spain, as represented by you, is approved by the President, and he has received with very cordial satisfaction the friendly explanations which Mr. Calderon Collantes has authorized you to convey to this department.
I think that you may be able to satisfy that eminent minister that the largest term which can readily be claimed for the present civil war is a period of two years from its date. It ought to have been expected that not less than one year would be occupied with the most flagrant and effective demonstrations of the insurgents, and that a government heretofore exempt from practical acquaintance with treason, and of course destitute of any machinery for resisting or counteracting it, would require no period less than the whole of that year to organize the military and naval forces for its safety. A year might then be reasonably allowed for the unavoidable trial at arms.
The American people have feared that the reserve practiced in some quarters might be deemed indicative of a disposition, if not to aid the insurgents, at least to sympathize with and encourage them. The country has not been able to reconcile such tendencies with a generous and liberal spirit; Spain, however, has been eminently just and generous.
We have now entered upon that second year. It seems to the President that the conflict hurries on towards a conclusion in favor of the Union. He is desirous that Spain may be sufficiently informed of the condition of affairs to enable her to resolve upon an attitude favorable to future harmony and friendship between the two countries.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Horatio J. Perry, Esq., &c., &c., &c., Madrid.[Page 471]