Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike.

No. 42.]

Sir: Your despatch of January 15 (No. 34) has been received.

I thank you sincerely for your attention and diligence in giving me information of the action of opinion on the continent in regard to the disposition of the question concerning the Trent, and also for your speculations concerning the probable future course of European opinion upon the contest in which we are engaged.

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Incidents, and even accidents, domestic and foreign, enter much into all the estimates which can be formed on either side of the ocean. There will be incidents and accidents in the future, as there have been in the past, and these cannot now be foreknown. I think I have heretofore said to you that I had perceived that any opinion discovered in Europe is only a later appearance there of an opinion which had already manifested itself among ourselves. Practically the American people were dismayed by the outbreak of the revolution. Europe accepted it as already completed. The American people rallied, and Europe considered. The American people recoiled after the battle of Bull’s Run. Europe pronounced the question ended. The American people were confident of success, and Europe admitted the hopefulness of their affairs until the Trent question came up. The American people thought that war waged by Great Britain against us when we were divided would be calamitous. Europe decided that it would be ruinous.

Just now the tide of success is with us; the strength of our position is seen and felt by ourselves, and acknowledged by the insurgents. If we go on as we have begun, making progress against the insurrection; and if, at the same time, we practice justice in all our dealings with foreign nations, I feel assured that European states will consider well before they engage in a war against us in violation of all moral right, and with such questionable prospect of benefits to themselves.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


James S. Pike, Esq., &c., &c., &c.