Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.
Sir: Since my last, under date of May 28,1 am in receipt of your despatches Nos. 52, 53, and 54, and of your circular of May 8.
I have made the reply to Mr. Van der Maesen de Sombreff, as directed in your despatch of 10th of May, (No. 54,) and the question treated therein remains without change. From an interview with Mr. Van der Maeser I learn that his government views the treaty of 1782 as obsolete. The discussion thereon, to which I referred in a late despatch, did not go beyond a parliamentary declaration by the ministers of foreign affairs to this effect, which was acquiesced in by the legislative body.
There is a feverish state of public mind in relation to American affairs, which the late dash into the Shenandoah valley by the insurgents, and consequent retreat of our forces under General Banks, has tended to increase. The industrial interests of Europe so earnestly desire the termination of hostilities, that everything which looks like prolonging the contest promotes fresh inquiries into some new methods of terminating the suspense. The suggestion is thus now renewed for propositions of mediation or arbitration of the great powers. But while the present determined attitude of the government and people of the loyal States continues it does not seem probable that these suggestions will result in any definite action. Still I believe it is not too much to say that it would create no surprise in European circles if something of this sort should take place, unless the rebellion should give signs of a sudden collapse.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.