Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

No. 66.]

Sir: I have the honor to report to you my arrival at Liverpool on the 9th, and at my post on the 23d instant.

I saw M. Rogier on the occasion of a friendly call the following day. He was preparing for a journey to England the next morning, and our conversation on public topics was quite informal.

He assured me, in answer to my inquiry; that his government had not been approached by any of the other powers with a view to joint action in respect to the war in the United States. Belgium was a neutral and a small power, he said, and could not be expected to take part in such schemes did they exist. They were suffering greatly from the effects of the war, he continued, and he inquired as to its probable duration and if there was no prospect of a compromise. I replied, the duration of the war would depend very much on the encouragement given to the insurgents by European powers, that they had to thank for the present distress the eager haste of England and others in according belligerent rights to the insurgents in anticipation of hostilities, and which greatly stimulated and aided their efforts; that there was no thought of compromise or cessation of the war till the whole country had returned to its allegiance. The war was a domestic affair, in which neither intermeddling nor intervention would be tolerated from any quarter. We were grieved that its effects weighed so heavily on Europe, but it was Europe that had constantly reproached us with the crime of slavery, and urged upon us its abolition, and it was but fair it should now bear its share of the burdens which the war, the result of that “institution,” and which would probably cause its extinction, had created.

M. Rogier remarked that the condition of the negro, if free, did not seem to be much ameliorated in the northern States, where he was not tolerated as an equal, and inquired what would be done with the slaves if emancipated. With regard to that, I replied, there certainly was a prejudice in the United States against the African race, which local and municipal legislation had given expression to, and certainly the negroes, a tropical race, had not thriven nor could thrive in the temperate regions of the north, and were, consequently, not generally regarded with favor. I did not perceive why they might not labor as freed men as well in the southern States as in a condition of slavery. - They were found, as slaves, to be a source of great profit to their masters; why could not their labor be turned to their own profit? It was certain that the white man could not be employed to advantage in tropical cultivation, and it seemed to me that the negro, or some other tropical race, would always be needed there to cultivate the free cotton and rice, to take hereafter the place of slave-grown cotton and rice. I had been struck on a recent visit to the French and Danish West India colonies [Page 665] with the good results attending a judicious administration of their vagrant or labor laws. I found that the emancipated blacks were happy, contented, and laborious, and that the products of the islands were steadily increasing with their free labor. But these were questions to be treated as they arose.

The war, I went on to say, had its origin in the ambition of a few politicians who had sought to build up a slave empire for the benefit of themselves and a small oligarchy of slaveholders, and for the overthrow of liberal institutions and universal suffrage. Unlike revolutions in old Europe, this was an aristocratic party against democracy. They had, under various false pretences as the war progressed, induced a large portion of the population to join in resisting the federal authority, and the struggle would, I feared, be a long one. Our present care, I continued, was to restore the authority of the laws; if slavery, the cause of it, was destroyed in the process, it would be for us to provide as we could for that event.

Mr. Dudley Mann, agent for the insurgents, is still here and has vainly sought to be received by the government. He has sent a long communication to Mr. Rogier, in favor of the cause he represents, which has received no reply.

The King is still an invalid, and still under the care of physicians, but is much better than at the time of my departure. The Queen of England is expected here to make him a visit of three days, on her way to Cobourg, a few days hence.

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


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.