Mr. Seward to Mr. Taylor.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your despatches of November 11, (No. 18,) November 12, (No. 19,) and November 15, (No. 20.) These papers, in their order, open and clear up the subject of the action of Russia upon the proposition which was recently made to her and to Great Britain by France, for a joint appeal of all three of the powers to the United States. The consideration which they suggest has, however, already been anticipated in my previous instructions.
I have now only to renew the expression of the satisfaction of the President with the prudent, just, and friendly course pursued by the government of the Czar on that interesting occasion.
On reading your despatches I cannot avoid seeing that some exaggerations of our affairs, which attended the political canvass which has been recently held here, have been presented to Europe, even by friends of this country, as portentous facts, and have been influential in inducing the ill-judged proceeding of Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys, and investing it with an importance far beyond its merits.
All these exaggerations, having had in some measure their desired local and temporary success, have now passed away. Even those who, on either side, got them up in the heat of argument have forgotten them, and the whole country, with all the departments of the government, has become satisfied that the progress of the government in suppressing the insurrection is satisfactory. I am not disposed to judge foreign nations harshly for their want of confidence in the maintenance of the Union, since they are naturally misled by our own partisan excitements, the nature and character of which must be very imperfectly understood abroad.[Page 848]
I think that if the European statesman should undertake a survey of his own political hemisphere, he would hardly find a nation which, at this time, is more thoroughly convinced of its present safety and assured welfare than the United States. Our great expedition assigned to Major General Banks has moved towards its destination, and it will soon be heard from. Our forces are clearing the valley of the Mississippi. Another army is pressing the insurgents in Virginia. Our iron-clad fleet is growing with rapidity, and it will soon reduce the last remaining insurgent port. The principal part of Tennessee is restored. Elections are being held in portions of several of the insurrectionary States, which will restore in those regions the civil administration of the federal government.
A new year is thus likely to open with better auspices for the country than either of its predecessors, 1861 and 1862.
It is well to be watchful of intrigues abroad, and to guard, so far as is possible, against misapprehensions, much more against injurious policies on the part of foreign states; but, on the other hand, the country and the government require every one of its representatives to be assured, and at all times to be prepared to assure the state to which he is accredited, that any foreign power which thinks this people is ready to divide and destroy itself is mistaken, and that if any such state thinks that the Union can be destroyed by interference from any foreign quarter, this belief is even still more erroneous.
The President’s message, and the reports of the Secretaries of the Treasury, War, and the Navy, will be very useful in enabling you to show to Prince Gortchacow the grounds of the public confidence in the stability of the Union, which I have endeavored to describe.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Bayard Taylor, Esq., &c., &c., &c.