Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward

No. 277.]

Sir: Your despatch No. 297* was received by me on the 24th instant. It was immediately copied and yesterday read to Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys; the copy, at his request, being left with him. He listened attentively to its reading, and at the close said, that his suggestion to our government had been made in a kind spirit, and he believed the reply to be in a like spirit; that he was not disposed to make the reply or its suggestions the subject of debate or argument; that he did not know, I think he added, if he had any right to do so. He said that he would read again the copy of the despatch left with him, and consider it more carefully than he could from having heard it once read only. There was nothing in the manner of Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys to indicate that he was disappointed in the result. I should add, however, that he had already been apprised of it by a short communication from Mr. Mercier. He said Mr. Mercier had informed him by a brief note that you would give a negative answer, but in all respects a kind one This I told him you had done, and called his attention to the prefatory remarks in your despatch as an evidence of the spirit and kind feeling in which his suggestion had been received by our government.

The conversation closed without any intimation from Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys of further or ulterior purposes upon the part of this government. I could not, for obvious reasons, assume to question him as to whether such purposes did or did not exist.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


His Excellency William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c.

  1. Note.—The despatch No. 297 was published in Senate Executive Document No. 38, 37th Congress, 3d session, p. 13, on the subject of mediation, &c.