Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike.

No. 44.]

Sir: Your despatch of February 5 (No. 36) has been received.

You will lose no time in calling the attention of Mr. Stratenus to the subject of the intrusion of insurgent piratical American vessels seeking shelter in the ports of the Netherlands and their colonies. If you cannot obtain a decree excluding them altogether, it is thought that the government will have no hesitation in restoring the restrictive policy which was adopted by it under the superintendence of its foreign affairs by Baron Van Zuylen.

I trust, however, that the government will go further, and reconsider the whole subject. The insurgents have never, since they attempted a revolution, been able to command ingress and egress at any port in the United States. Practically all the seaports occupied by them are effectually invested by the naval forces of the United States. Large stretches of the coast of the insurrectionary States are already in the occupation of the United States, including many of their ports. The others are falling rapidly into the same occupation. The arms of the United States have successfully resisted the revolution, and it is yielding on all sides before them. The time is an opportune one for those friendly powers which, as we think, so prematurely and unnecessarily conceded belligerent rights to the insurgents, to reverse that policy and resume their original relations with the United States. Perseverance by them in that policy can only embarrass a commerce between those powers and the United States, the obstruction of which is only less injurious to themselves than to our own country, while it sustains hopes of foreign intervention already rendered desperate by the manifest disposition of that portion of the people which has been invited to return to their constitutional [Page 597] relations with the federal government. This domestic war has been protracted long enough. It is the interest of humanity that it should be closed as speedily as possible. It would come to an end to-morrow if the European states should clearly announce that expectations of favor from them must be renounced.

The policy of finance to which you advert has been considered carefully by Congress. The system which seems to have been settled upon, and which in part has gone into legislation, seems to us a very safe and wise one. The government will issue treasury notes for currency which will be a legal tender except for duties on imports and the payment of interest on the national debt. The imports will be collected in gold and silver, and the interest on the national debt will always be paid in coin. Taxes will be levied to an amount ample in every case to pay the interest and constitute a sinking fund adequate to the ultimate payment of the principal of the public debt. The wealthy men of Holland will have to look very far abroad to find safer investments for their capital; and there are abundant indications that the national credit, under this system, will be cheerfully sustained by our own citizens. The prospect of an early end of the civil war is already accepted by all classes of our people, and we shall perhaps be ceasing to borrow while those who have little faith in republican institutions are considering whether it is safe to lend.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


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