Mr. Taylor to Mr. Seward.

No. 20.]

Sir: The Journal de St. Petersbourg, of to-day, publishes the despatch of Prince Gortchacow to M. d’Oubil, chargé d’affaires of Russia at Paris, in reply to that of M. Drouyn de l’Huys to the Duke de Montebello, French ambassador at this court As the despatch refers particularly to the instructions which have been given to M. de Stoeckl, I herewith translate it as an affirmation and a completion of the oral report contained in my despatch of the 12th instant, No. 19:

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“St. Petersburgh, October 27, (Nov. 8,) 1862.

“Sir: I transmit to you herewith a copy of a despatch of M. Drouyn de l’Huys, which the Duke de Montebello has been charged to communicate to us. It concerns the affairs of North America, and its object is to invite us to join in an understanding with France and England, in order to profit by the existing lassitude of the parties to propose in common a suspension of hostilities.

“In reply to this overture, I have reminded the ambassador of France of the solicitude which our august master has not ceased to bestow on the American conflict since the moment when it broke out, a solicitude inspired by the amicable relations which exist between the two countries, and of which the imperial cabinet has given public evidence. I have assured him that nothing would better correspond with our desires than to be able to hasten the termination of a struggle which we deplore, and that, in this sense, our minister at Washington is instructed to seize all favorable occasions to recommend moderation and conciliation in order to allay the opposing passions, and lead the struggling interests to a wise solution. I have recognized that these counsels would certainly have more value if they were presented simultaneously, and under the same amicable forms, by the great powers which are interested in the issue of the conflict.

“But I have added, that, in our opinion, it was necessary before all things to avoid the appearance of any pressure whatever of a nature to wound the public sentiment of the United States, and to excite susceptibilities which are ready to be aroused at the mere idea of foreign intervention. Now, according to the information which we possess at present, we are led to believe that a combined movement of France, England, and Russia, however conciliatory it might be, and with whatsoever precautions it might be surrounded, if it came with an official and collective character, would incur the risk of bringing about a result opposed to the pacificatory end which the three courts desire.

“We have, therefore, concluded, that if the French government persists in judging that a formal and collective movement is advisable, and if the cabinet of London should partake that opinion, it would be impossible for us at this distance to foresee the reception which such a movement would be likely to meet. But if in this case our minister does not officially participate in it, his moral support is not less assured in advance to every attempt at conciliation.

“In lending such support to his colleagues of France and England, under the semi-official form which he may believe best adapted to avoid the appearance of pressure, M. de Stoeckl will simply continue the attitude and the language which, by order of our august master, he has not ceased to observe since the origin of the American dispute.

“It is in this sense that I desire you to express yourself to the minister of foreign affairs of France, in reply to the communication which he has been pleased to make to us.

“Receive, &c.


While I infer from the above that Russia would, to a certain extent, be inclined to take part in a movement which she foresaw to be inevitable on the part of England and France, rather than permit a coalition between those two powers from which she should be wholly excluded, the probable refusal of the English government announced to-day by telegraph relieves me from all apprehension of complications that might arise from the proposition. I stated to Prince Grortchacow, at our recent interview, my belief that England would not accede, and am very glad to find it so soon confirmed.

The day after the proposal of France was announced here, the Duke and Duchess de Montebello called at this legation, although a visit was not required by social etiquette. I interpreted the courtesy as an intimation that the ambassador wished to allay any suspicion of hostile sentiment on the part of France.

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The continuance of small successes to the Union arms, in all quarters, is very encouraging; and, if no important reverse occurs, I have hopes of soon being able to restore the shaken confidence in our final success.

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

BAYARD TAYLOR, Chargé de Affaires.

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.