Mr. Seward to Mr. Taylor.

No. 10.]

Sir: Your despatch of November 28 (No. 21) has been submitted to the President. A perusal of it produces the same impression which follows the reading of the despatches of all our representatives in Europe, namely, that the government of the United States is regarded by foreign governments as weak and in critical circumstances. The existence of such an opinion in Europe is natural. Our utterances, which are controversial because we are really free and confident of the national safety, however we may seem to despond, too often present the government in this light. This is the result of a commendable impatience for greater activity, with the promise of greater and speedier results. The insurgent emissaries in Europe inculcate the same opinion, and their prejudiced or interested European sympathizers have the public ear in Europe, as insurgent exiles always do. Nothing, however, could be more injurious to the country than a seeming admission of the justice of the opinion in question by this government. This sentiment was among those which induced my instructions to yourself, Mr. Dayton, and Mr. Adams, to ask no explanations and make no comments on any explanations which should be offered by any of the three powers which lately engaged in a correspondence with each other concerning American affairs. The note which you have addressed to Prince Gortchacow, exhibiting our resources and advantages, was written before you received this instruction; and it is believed that, from your known ability, you have made the argument presented a strong one, and, therefore, the President, so far from censuring you for the performance, is rather gratified with it. But it will be well for you, nevertheless, to explain to Prince Gortchacow that this government would not have instructed you to write the paper, and that for the special reason before mentioned it would not have approved of it had the government been advised of the preparation of the document. At no previous time since this civil war began has this government been better assured of its ultimate success in the present contest, or had more gratifying proofs of the strength of the very extraordinary political system which was bequeathed to us by our fathers; and the President is no more likely to accept overtures of foreign mediation in our affairs than the government of the United States is likely to offer its mediation in similar affairs to any other nation.

To-day members of Congress arrive here who have been duly elected in Louisiana; and this is a palpable demonstration that the crisis of disunion has passed, and the process of restoration has begun.

* * * * * * * *

In regard to Russia, the case is a plain one. She has our friendship, in every case, in preference to any other European power, simply because she always wishes us well, and leaves us to conduct our affairs as we think best.

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I do not misunderstand the seductions which partisan divisions existing here, not in reality disloyal, offer to foreign powers. Such seductions are always offered in every civil war. I can, however, hardly remember a case in history in which any foreign state listened to such persuasions with any advantage accruing to itself or to the state in whose behalf its sympathy was moved.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Bayard Taylor, &c., &c., &c.