Mr. Seward to Mr. Koerner.
Sir: Mr. Perry’s interesting despatch of September 21 (No. 81) has been received. Manifestly it was written when the European political atmosphere was highly disturbed by the news of the insurgent successes which occurred in August last, and by the confident expectations which heralded there the secretly projected campaign of invasion of the loyal States, which was to culminate in the occupation of many of the chief marts of internal as well as those of foreign trade, and the capitulation of Washington. The campaign has already proved a failure, and it is now supposed here that the hopes of recognition which were built upon it have abated under the influence of so serious a disappointment.
It is observed that when this subject of recognition is discussed in foreign capitals, it is at least tacitly assumed that the United States would be passive upon the adoption of such a measure by friendly nations. There is no [Page 476]ground whatever for this assumption. However our military position may be regarded abroad, it is known and felt here that the national strength, wealth, and power were never before so great or so available for any struggle as they are now; and if anything were wanting to intensify the national loyalty and excite the national zeal, it would be furnished by any foreign invasion of the country or its sovereign rights.
You will already have learned that the President has impressed on the war the feature of a withdrawal of the national protection from slavery in the insurgent States, which Mr. Perry has so confidently and earnestly, and yet with entire propriety, recommended.
You will exercise your discretion as to bringing the views which I have thus furnished to the notice of Mr. Calderon Collantes. If you do so, you will, at the same time, assure him, in the most frank and confiding manner, that this government entertains not the least distrust of the fidelity of Spain to her treaty obligations, or of her abiding friendship towards the United States. Mr. Tassara, who is always respected by this government, called upon me yesterday, and in a very earnest and zealous manner represented to me that he had learned from the captain general of Cuba that a British vessel, the Blanche, had been driven by an American cruiser ashore on the Island of Cuba, and that the cruiser assumed and exercised force against the British vessel and her crew within the waters and even on the soil of Spain. But Mr. Tassara had not yet had time to prepare a formal representation upon the subject. Meantime this government has no other knowledge of the transaction except some very uncertain and highly-inflamed articles in relation to it extracted from the Havana press.
You are requested to lose no time in calling upon Mr. Collantes, and in assuring him that an investigation of the transaction has been already ordered by the President; and that, in just the extent that the case shall be found to justify Mr. Tassara’s representations, the displeasure of this government will be visited upon agents who have abused equally its authority and its instructions, and the most ample redress will be promptly afforded.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Gustavus Koerner, Esq., &c., &c., &c.