Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.

No. 55.]

Sir: This has been a week of very great excitement in relation to American affairs. The telegraph has performed its usual office of misrepresenting and prejudicing the cause of the federal government to a greater extent than common. It has been reported, for example, by telegraph to the London Times, and by that means the news has been sent all over Europe, that General McClellan’s army had capitulated, and the commander himself had fled on board the gunboat Galena. With this was communicated other circumstantial details of a similar character. The later advices show that the intelligence thus everywhere disseminated was simply maliciously false. The object of such reports is to confuse the European apprehension of our affairs, and thus work mischief to our cause, and that is accomplished.

The organs of the ruling classes in Europe are, of course, everywhere against us, and always must be while they are legitimist and we are republican. They thus find delight in seizing upon a momentary disaster to the arms of the republic, and in exaggerating its importance, and misrepresenting its character. It is by such shallow devices they flatter themselves they strengthen the rotten pillars of their own political system. The American government must fight all its battles, and secure all its triumphs, military and civil, in the face of a steady, uninterrupted current of hostile sentiment from this side of the Atlantic. It has been so thus far, and it will be so to the end. We shall have the congratulations of these countries and their moral support when we shall want neither, not a moment before. It is gratifying to find, among the great body of the people, an instinct and a knowledge that fully understands the craft of the ruling classes. The sympathy of the masses of the European people is, unquestionably, with the government and people of the loyal States, and it only needs opportunity to show itself in a way to convulse the entire continent. This encouragement to the reactionary movement in the United States by its sympathizers in the old world, it is but natural to suppose, will engender a new stimulus to the revolutionary temper of these old countries, and thus work out a compensation in aid of those who labor to extend the blessings of good government based on popular rights, the champion of whom is seen to be, by all the world, the now struggling government of the United States. And it might not be amiss to inculcate the idea that, if European governments will have it so, it may turn out that its labors to this end will, not be confined to the American continent.

The second chamber of this kingdom, by a vote of 46 to 12, have finally passed the bill decreeing emancipation to all the slaves in the Dutch colonies where slavery yet remains, of whom there are still about 36,000. The sum of 300 florins has been fixed as the amount of indemnity to the master for each slave, without distinction of age or sex. Emancipation is to take place on the 1st of July, 1863, with a surveillance of government agents for ten years. The subject, long debated and long postponed, has been finally brought to a head by the activity of the new liberal government. [Page 614] The crops of this kingdom, and up the valley of the Rhine into the heart of Germany, give promise of great abundance.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.