Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.

No. 56.]

Sir: The last mail brought me your despatches Nos. 60 and 61, of July 9 and 15, and also the circular of the department in relation to passport fees, and your note of the 14th of July, covering a copy of the bill submitted to Congress by the President in relation to a compensated emancipation of the slaves. The message of the President in respect thereto, to which you refer, did not accompany it.

Europe waits to see how the country will bear the blow inflicted at Richmond. That blow has, to a great extent, neutralized the impression made here by the capture of New Orleans. I have heretofore given my opinion that the cotton famine was likely to prick on the leading governments of western Europe to some kind of interference in our affairs. I have also said [Page 615] that the magnitude and intensity of our contest had of late tended to deter all parties from meddling in any way. These conflicting incentives have produced a dead-lock, and I see no prospect of any change at present.

I feel confident that England is much alarmed at the existing situation in its bearing upon her transatlantic affairs, and thoroughly determined to avoid as far as possible all complications, and to get everybody back to a state of peace as fast as she can.

As to France, the universal sentiment seems to be that the Mexican invasion is a capital blunder and without compensations. The romantic love of glory for which that nation is distinguished is at present satisfied, and the popular urgency is turned into the unwonted channel of money making. The efforts of the best minds are directed to retrieve the national finances, which a long course of unrestricted expenditure has left in a dilapidated and threatening condition. The inference points to peaceable dispositions on the Emperor’s part, from necessity if not from choice.

It is the remark of shrewd observers that the leading purpose of the Emperor’s policy has always been to give a direction to the prevailing currents of public opinion. At present that opinion does not favor distant military expeditions.

* * * * * * * * *

The telegraph delights to torment us semi-weekly with lying intelligence or adverse speculations on the state of affairs in America, which the authentic news of the public journals never sustain.

When we break through the obstructions at Richmond, and our new gunboats shall reduce Charleston and Savannah, I do not believe Europe will see in the remaining debris of the rebellion substance or compactness enough to warrant the recognition of it as an independent government, but will be content to see the insurrection wear itself out by its own ineffectual struggles.

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


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.