Mr. Perry to Mr. Seward.
Sir: Your despatch of February 4 was duly received, and I, the same day, read the original to the sub-secretary of state, Mr. Calderon not being at his department when I called.
Mr. Cowyn advised me to prepare a translation of this important paper, to be left with Mr. Calderon, if he should desire it. There was certainly no objection to that course, and I accordingly prepared the translation, a copy of which is enclosed, and having again waited upon Mr. Calderon, read the same to him and left a copy in his hands.
The document is exceedingly well calculated for a favorable effect upon this government, and though I have no practical result to announce to you to-day, there is no doubt the impression produced upon Mr. Calderon, at the time he heard it, was marked and strong.
His own observations opening the way for me, I traced rapidly for him [Page 483]the connexion of the principal actors in the present rebellion with former filibustering schemes against Cuba. Showed him the natural and necessary policy of our slave-owners towards all the foreign states on our southern border. Showed him how our people had rebuked this policy, and in other respects sustained and illustrated by the facts of history the chief positions taken in your despatch.
Mr. Calderon listened with great interest, and said he was glad of one thing: he was glad we at Wasington believed that Spain had entered upon a new career; and he would assure me that Spain was not bound to follow the action of France or England; that what she did she did spontaneously and freely, and was at entire liberty to do or undo what she had done in the matter of neutrality in our civil contest without consulting any other power.
He also assured me that no commissioner nor agent from the southern States had yet presented himself to any officer of her Majesty’s government to his knowledge.
In fact, Mr. Rost, whose departure from Paris was communicated to me by Mr. Dayton some time since arrived in Madrid only to-day.
But the news of the victory at Fort Donelson had preceded him.
With the highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.