Mr. Clay to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your despatch No. 8. So soon as it was received I enclosed a copy of your note to Mr. Dayton, to his excellence Prince Gortchacow, with the following remarks of my own:
“Legation of the United States, “St. Petersburgh, Russia, May 18–30, 1863.
“The undersigned, minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary of the United States of America, has the honor to have received from his government a copy of a note addressed by the Secretary of State to our minister at Paris [Page 871] in response to a communication of M. Drouyn de l’Huys to the government of the United States, the contents of which he is instructed to communicate, in an ‘informal way,’ to the Russian court. The American minister knows not how better to perform this agreeable duty than to enclose to his excellency Prince Gortchacow, vice-chancellor and minister of foreign affairs to his Imperial Majesty, a true transcript of that note, which he here does, marked A.
“The undersigned is highly gratified to find his government thus sustaining so fully the sentiments which, indirectly in reference to Poland, he had, upon the occasion of his late reception, the honor to express to his Imperial Majesty.
“The American minister avails himself of the present occasion to renew to his excellency Prince Gortchacow the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.
“C. M. CLAY.”
Your letter was received Saturday. Sunday I sent the copy of your response to Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys to the vice-chancellor, and to-day, the 2d of June, by request, I called upon Prince Gortchacow, who asked of me the liberty to publish your note. I agreed to its publication, and for the following reasons: Your position was just, and therefore could not be offensive of right to our powerful rivals, who are acting offensively towards Russia. Whatever result it was calculated to produce on England and France has already been effected. Its publication would aid Russia by our moral support at home and abroad, and that support is needed at once, and its force might be lost by the delay of asking further instructions from you. And lastly, and above all, I felt that it was due from us to be grateful for the past conduct of Russia towards us in our troubles, by a like moral support of herself in defence of the integrity of her empire.
Whilst I shall always feel the necessity of making my action harmonize with yours in general policy, which you have the right to dictate, in the absence of special instructions, I shall pursue the same frank and just conduct in state affairs which I hold to be proper in private life.
Trusting that my course will be approved by the department, I am, most truly, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.