Mr. Seward to Mr. Sanford.
Sir: Your valued letters of the 24th and 25th of April are before me.
Happily we have passed the point of danger. The revolution seems collapsing, and the United States, in possession once more of their important ports, will, under needful and prudential limitations, open them to foreign trade, because they can afford to exercise liberality and humanity. I might therefore perhaps dismiss the subject you have presented in your communications, but that would not be wise. We do not know and cannot foresee what may yet happen. I think it proper, therefore, that you improve the present auspicious change of our situation, and the friendly feelings which it will call forth in Europe, to impress upon the statesmen with whom you may come in contact the truth I have not failed to inculcate in every case and under every aspect of affairs—that the commerce of this country is to be enjoyed through the administration of this government over the whole of it, and not through any breach of the Constitution, or any division of the country, east or west, north or south. The country cannot be diverted from this course by any foreign persuasions, intimidation, or constraint. It can bear much and long from considerations of prudence, and yield much from motives of magnanimity; but it cannot be made to permit the loss or sacrifice of a particle of its sovereignty or of its independence. A collision between it and maritime powers is to be deprecated, and, if possible, in every case avoided; but its chief calamities would not fall upon the American continent. It betrays almost a perverse misconception of the character of this people to suppose, at this stage of the contest, that a separation of the Union on the ground of slavery is either near at hand or can ever occur.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
H. S. Sanford, Esq., &c., &c., &c., Brussels.