Mr. Seward to Mr. Taylor.

No. 17.]

Sir: Your despatch of January 21 (No. 27) has been received. This government thought that it might be deemed an exhibition of too much susceptibility if it should show a desire to discuss with France, Russia, and Great Britain the subject of the diplomatic communications which, without conference with the United States, passed between those respected powers concerning American affairs, on the initiation of the Emperor of the French.

[Page 861]

The sending of your private unofficial note, and the accompanying statement to Prince Gortchacow, described in your despatch No. 21, of the 28th of November last, the dates of which were not given, was a proceeding not in harmony with the sentiment to which I have thus alluded.

That proceeding, however, was taken by you in the absence of knowledge of the course the government had decided to adopt. You have now brought this fact to the knowledge of Prince Gortchacow, and this sets the matter right in that quarter, which is all that was wanted.

Under these circumstances the President is pleased not only to absolve you from censure for the proceeding, but even to look back with satisfaction upon the whole transaction. Your exposition was timely and able, and it has manifestly produced a good result. The unreserved and friendly expressions of sentiment made to you by his Majesty and by Prince Gortchacow, in relation to our country, have been made known to the President, and received by him with lively satisfaction.

You will do an act at once of courtesy and of justice to the worthy representative of Russia residing here, by stating to Prince Gortchacow that exactly the same assurances have been given to me by Mr. Stoeckl, on the same subject.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


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