Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.
Sir: Since my last I have had the honor to receive your two despatches of March 8th and 10th, Nos. 45 and 46.
Your suggestions, now renewedly repeated, that the European governments will have themselves alone to blame if their commercial intercourse with the cotton States is much longer obstructed, if vigorously urged upon the leading maritime powers by our ministers, cannot fail to produce effect.
Those powers ought to be earnestly pressed to withdraw their recognition of belligerent rights to the seceding States, and themselves thus end the war which is occasioning them so much concern and inconvenience. I have twice drawn the attention of this government to this point already. But it is hard to move these secondary powers in a matter of general importance before the large powers have acted.
It was only by great urgency that Baron Von Zuylen was induced to adopt the policy of excluding the confederate vessels from the Dutch ports before any other government had adopted it. And the moment a new man took his place who had not been pressed, he immediately ran away from the position. The most I can hope now is, that Mr. Maesen will restore the policy of Baron Von Zuylen, which would be the best starting point for them to get where we would like to have them.
If we could get a good example from Russia, whose sympathies we can surely count on, we might gradually undermine the position of England and France on this question, should they not be otherwise disposed to leave it, by getting the smaller powers to follow her lead.
Since conveying the substance of your despatch on this subject to Mr. Maeson, of which I advised you in my last, I have addressed him the following note.[Page 601]
“United States Legation, “The Hague, March 28, 1862.
“Sir: In the absence of any reply to my note addressed to your excellency on the 22d of this month, allow me to solicit your earnest attention to the suggestion contained therein, that this government should review the whole question of granting belligerent rights to the States in revolt against the American government.
“Our late overwhelming successes demonstrate the impossibility of the triumph of the seceding States, and show that the insurrection must fail.
“The commercial interests of Europe and the claims of humanity alike demand of European governments a policy adapted to the present situation in the United States.
“If the seceding States were to be informed by the European courts that they would resume their former relations to the United States, and no longer accord the rights of belligerents to the secessionists, Europe would but little longer complain of suffering in consequence of the state of American affairs.
“It is hoped by the United States that this view being present to the mind of all European governments they will with a common accord, by this plain and easy line of policy, withdraw that moral support which alone now give a lingering existence to the slaveholders’ rebellion
“The undersigned begs, &c, &c.”
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.