Mr. Seward to Mr. Sanford.

No. 64.]

Sir: Your despatch of August 26 (No. 66) has been received. The general scope of the conversation with Mr. Rogier, which you report, shows how impossible it is for the European states to apprehend the course of an American one in regard to its domestic questions, even when they are brought to the unconstitutional test of civil war. To us the paramount, the vital question in this struggle is the preservation of the national integrity, or, in one word, the Union. Mr. Rogier turns at once from this to the question, when will peace come with the blessing to Europe of a fresh supply of cotton? This matter being dropped, he passes next to the economical results of emancipation as a result of the war. Thus it is that the European mind is occupied with mere collateral incidents and ultimate consequences of the war, while the vital question, of course, absorbs all the thoughts and anxieties of this government. There is nothing in all this to complain of. It is the experience of nations.

The period which has elapsed since your recent departure from this country to resume your duties abroad has been filled with events of the highest importance, exciting the most intense interest and anxiety. Contrary to what we hoped, the two retiring armies in Virginia did not effect a consolidation [Page 659] without disasters which enabled the insurgents to pass this city, reach the fords of the upper Potomac, and cross into Maryland, threatening, while there, this capital, Baltimore, and even Pennsylvania. Similar aggressive movements were made by them in the west; so that, for the last ten days, while we have surrendered no really important point that we held in the insurrectionary region, we have been maintaining, instead of an offensive, a defensive war. Recent occurrences induce a hope that this painful position is about to be relieved. But it would be useless to speculate upon results depending on battles which are imminent. The telegraph tells to you and to everybody ail that it communicates to the government, and with equal despatch. I may, however, properly mention that recently recruiting has very rapidly revived, and that all the requisitions which the government have made are being promptly filled. The new forces are constituted by a class superior, I think, to any that have ever entered the field in any country.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Henry S. Sanford, Esq.,&c., &c., &c., Brussels.