Mr. Schurz to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to transmit a copy of the speech delivered by the Queen at the opening of the Cortes on the 8th instant.
You will notice in that speech no mention is made of the events in the United States, nor of the position assumed by Spain in relation thereto, nor of the protest entered by the United States against the annexation of Dominica. To-day I called upon Mr. Calderon Collantes and requested him to explain to me, and through me to my government, the meaning of that omission. Mr. Calderon replied that he was happy to have an opportunity to prevent all misinterpretation of the royal speech as far as the United States was concerned. The government of Spain had already, in a solemn manner, manifested its policy in relation to the internal difficulties in the United States by the royal decree of the 17th of June; this matter being thus definitely settled, the government had not deemed it necessary to refer to it again. He would, however, confidentially imform me that he had prepared a paragraph for the royal speech on this subject; but that the speech being already very long, this and other matters of similar importance had been dropped. This paragraph which he recited to me contained an expression of regret at the unfortunate occurrences in the United States, and of the firm determination of her Majesty’s government faithfully to adhere to the policy indicated in the decree of June 17. He added that he would be happy to repeat this declaration in the Cortes if an interpellation should be addressed to him on the subject. As to our protest against the annexation of Dominica, he had not mentioned it in order to avoid if possible any discussion of that matter.
I may add that I believe this government to be sincere in their professions; [Page 478] not as though they loved the United States particularly, but they do not mean to provoke a difficulty with us, and will, I think, honestly endeavor to avoid a conflict with us under all circumstances. If the government of the United States show a corresponding temper, Spain will not think of recognizing the independence of the southern confederacy. A few days ago I had a conversation with General O’Donnell, who expressed himself very strongly and straight-forwardly to that effect. * * * * * my personal relations with this government are of the most satisfactory character, and the American legation is on every occasion the object of marked attention and respect.
The Queen’s speech is more liberal than was anticipated. The government has wisely concluded to concede without discussion several of the principal demands made by the opposition, and the consequence was, that in the test votes on parliamentary officers, the combined opposition did not show as much strength as had been calculated. The majority of the government in both branches of the legislature is very large, and the ministry, whose existence seemed to be very precarious but a short time ago, has apparently obtained a new lease of life. The opposition, however, although numerically weak, have nearly all the parliamentary talent of the Cortes on their side, and it would therefore be venturous to predict the result. The ministerial journals foreshadow the determination of the government to dissolve the Cortes in case an attempt be made by the opposition to impede the working of the governmental machinery by factious manoeuvres.
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. G.