Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike.

No. 55.]

Sir: Your despatch of April 30 (No. 48) has been received.

It is very interesting to notice the attention which is at this moment bestowed by the maritime powers upon the subject of improving their naval armaments with the use of iron armor. The improvement is of vast importance as a means of defence. It remains, perhaps, to be seen whether it can be perfected so as to be useful in aggressive warfare against distant states. Certainly no nation needs to adopt it more promptly than the Netherlands, if they are exposed to war from any cause, and none can adopt it more easily or more properly. It seems to us, however, that the warlike energies of European states might be safely and advantageously relaxed, if they could by some agreement come to an understanding to leave [Page 609] to each nation the exclusive care and management of its own political affairs. Foreign nations, as your paper shows, are just now beginning to experience severe, suffering from their departure from this safe principle of conduct in regard to the existing troubles in the United States. The manufacturers of Manchester require an address from a member of the ministry to reconcile them to severe privations. It is easy to see that those privations could not have occurred had British merchants been prevented as well as prohibited from supplying materials and munitions of war to the insurgents. The Belgian artisan is reduced to five cents per day. He would not have fallen upon such evil times if the insurgents had been denied supplies of Enfield rifles at the manufactories of Liege. The manufacturers at Lyons implore aid from the Emperor. But they would have needed none if France had withheld the concession of belligerent privileges from the insurgents. The Netherlands would have secured the friendship of the people of this whole continent forever if they had shut their ports against the privateers who stole out from our harbors to depredate upon the commerce of their own country. It might be flattering to our national pride, if we chose to indulge that passion, to see European states studying our models of ships-of-war, but it would be far better for them as well as for us if they should lend their great influences in co-operation with our efforts to the restoration of peace and harmony here and throughout the world.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


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