Mr. Seward to Mr. Motley.

No. 12.]

Sir: your despatch of January 20 (No 3) has been received.

I am very glad to learn that our disposition of the Trent affair is regarded with so much favor by the Austrian government and in the diplomatic circle at Vienna.

We have not been insensible to the impatience which you describe as existing in Europe for a speedy termination of our unhappy civil war, and to the possible danger of foreign intervention if it should be unreasonably protracted.

It has seemed very obvious to me that this foreign impatience is most unreasoning and most unjust. Yet I have felt no disposition to complain of it. It was only a reflex of the same popular impatience exhibited in our own country. In Europe it is naturally enough aggravated by the absence of [Page 550] those weighty political interests which at home have so unavailingly counselled prudence and patience in a conflict in which not merely partial or temporary interests are involved, but in which the national integrity and even the national existence are at stake.

Military and naval successes, however, are in good time rewarding the careful and elaborate measures of the government. Popular apprehension and distrust have already vanished before these triumphs so signally indicative of the complete restoration of the national authority, and we may therefore justly expect similar results in Europe. The toleration that could not be allowed there to a republic that seemed unfortunate, will perhaps not be denied when it is seen that it can, when it becomes necessary, defend itself with powers surpassing those of a limited monarchy or despotism. Under no other form of constitution could any nation have encountered with so much resolution and vigor a revolution so formidably instituted for the extension of human slavery. Perhaps just now, in the light of our more cheering prospects, this extraordinary feature of our cause may again be recognized in Europe.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


J. Lothrop Motley, Esq. &c., &c., &c, Vienna.