Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

No. 46.]

Sir: The news of the settlement of the “Trent” affair has given universal satisfaction here. As influencing public opinion, it has caused a very considerable reaction in our favor, which, I doubt not, will gather strength.

The surrender by England, when they are applied to herself, of her own cherished principles of international law, principles which she has ever enforced and practiced upon unwilling Europe, is considered a great gain. I hope she will not prove apostate to her new faith; and the eagerness and unanimity with which the great powers have, while avoiding discussion of an act in conformity with her established usage, urged us to yield in favor of neutral rights, and thus secure Great Britain in her new position, are significant, in my view of it, of anything rather than sympathy for England or hostility to ourselves. England can hardly congratulate herself upon this intervention, which indicates not alone the desire to secure a recognition of the more liberal extension of neutral rights, but a jealousy of an attempt to cripple a power recognized as a necessary counterpoise in the world’s affairs. The eagerness of the government which, ignoring its own precepts and believing its own practices, seeks a pretext to fasten a war [Page 663] and disaster upon us is now exposed, and, it is to be hoped, will meet fitting retribution at home and abroad. The sentiment is universal here that she will now, failing in this pretext, seek one upon the question of the inefficiency of our blockade. I look to Parliament, public opinion, and the success which I confidently expect we shall, in the next thirty days, have tidings of, to squelch out this further attempt of a selfish and jealous governing class to destroy our power and check our development.

The cry now sought to be raised about the “vandalism” of shutting up a port with hulks instead of bombarding and destroying it and its inhabitants, is in keeping with the whole transaction. My opinion is, our cause is at this day stronger in Europe than at any time before, since the Ball Run affair.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.