Mr. Taylor to Mr. Seward.

No. 21.]

Sir: Judging that you may desire to have regular reports from this legation at the present time, I have the honor to transmit to you an account of all that has occurred in relation to American interests since my despatch of the 15th instant.

With regard to the project of intervention made by France, the impression here is that since the replies of Russia and England it has been temporarily suspended, but is not relinquished by that power. If a renewal of it at any time shall be made to this court, I am convinced that Prince Grortchacow, with the entire absence of reserve which has characterized all his intercourse with me, will inform me promptly of the fact. I have received a confidential communication from Mr. Dayton, giving me an account of his interview with M. Drouyn de l’Huys, and have in return transmitted to him a report of my own conversations with Prince Gortchacow. I have also forwarded a similar confidential despatch to Mr. Adams, as I judged it important that both he and Mr. Dayton should be officially informed of the sentiments of the imperial government. I trust that this proceeding will meet your approval.

Since my last despatch I have had no further personal intercourse with Prince Grortchacow, but I have prepared and sent to him a statement, drawn up with great care, of the present national debt of the United States; the estimated annual revenue under the new laws; the additions made to the active force of our armies during the last three months; the number of iron-clad vessels in process of construction; and the important movements already commenced in the west and on the sea-coast. This statement was forwarded with a private (unofficial) note, informing him that it was not intended as an indirect prediction of results, but as a simple exposition of facts, which would clearly show that an armistice at this time could only be of advantage to the rebellious States, and that no proposition of the kind could be entertained by the federal government. I am aware that, in this act, I may have exceeded the strict line of my duty, but I felt that some such presentation of the brighter aspects of our cause was necessary to strengthen the hopes and refresh the sympathies of the government most friendly to us.

I had a conversation yesterday with the ambassador of France, the Duke de Montebello, in which I expressed to him the same views concerning the proposed intervention of his government. He informed me that immediately after receiving the despatch of M. Drouyn de l’Huys he had called upon me, in order to communicate its contents to me, but had not found me at home. I infer from his expressions, both on this and other occasions, that his personal sympathies are in favor of the preservation of the Union. The only defence of the proposition which he offered was, that it was very carefully worded; did not betray a hostile spirit, and that an armistice need not necessarily include the raising of the blockade.

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The British ambassador, Lord Napier, has been especially kind and cordial in his personal intercourse, but seems disposed to avoid any discussion of our national struggle, or the European propositions concerning it.

There are in Russia about 237,000 stand of arms which have been condemned, and offered for sale by the government. Eight or ten thousand of them have percussion locks and bayonets; but the remainder are flint-lock muskets, and carbines of an obsolete pattern, and may be had for 75 copeks (about 58 cents) apiece. A few days ago I discovered that an American here, well known for his treasonable sentiments, had been examining the specimens offered, with the expressed intention of making a large purchase. In the absence of any fund for detective service, I have been voluntarily assisted by two loyal American residents, who have been so successful in following up the transaction that no further steps can be taken without their knowledge. The arms are so worthless, however, that I do not anticipate their purchase.

The imperial court is at present in Moscow, where it will remain for the next three weeks. The internal condition of the empire is generally quiet and satisfactory. Since the promulgation of the plan of judicial reform, the increase in public confidence has been very remarkable. Count Pauin, who opposed its adoption, has been dismissed from the ministry.

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

BAYARD TAYLOR, Chargé d’Affaires.

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.