Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike.
Sir: Your despatch of June 11 (No. 51) was received.
The impatience of Europe for a close of our civil war, which you describe, has not failed to arrest the attention of this government. Illogical as it is, the United States have acted in the emergency just as they would have [Page 612] done had the European States a right of protest, remonstrance, or urgency in the matter. The civil war would have been ended long ago had those powers held an attitude otherwise than encouraging to the disturbers of our national peace. This government has practiced the most careful justice and the most liberal forbearance on all subjects calculated to excite passion or engender ill will abroad.
It was not until peaceful means failed that it committed the integrity of the Union to the trial of civil war. It has no exemption from the laws of Providence, which make that form of trial one of time and hazard. It claims, and it will insist upon, its full right as a belligerent in the emergency. Those know least of the American people who suppose that for a moment they will hesitate to maintain that integrity, under any circumstances, with whatever of strength and resources they have, no matter who may propose, in whatever form, to intervene in the controversy. We seek peace at home and peace abroad. So earnestly do we seek it that we may, in any case, wait until aggression gives us the attitude of self-defence. If European states are as just and as sincerely desirous of peace as we are, the war cloud will pass over without producing disaster or greater distress.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
James S. Pike, Esq., &c., &c., &c.