Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton
Sir: It is expected that you will not suffer the cloud that has recently arisen, as it were, from under your own feet, to excite any alarm about the good fortune of our country. It is to the condition of affairs at home, not the condition of opinion in Europe, that we must look if we would understand the prospects of our country. The great problem of domestic slavery in the United States presented itself for solution when the war began. It is in process of solution, and so the war goes on. It is not yet solved, and so the war is not yet ended. The people of the United States are intensely engaged in the difficult task. If it questions and rejects one process of solution after another, that does not prove that it is abandoning the task. On the contrary, it is the very act of performance of the task itself. If the performer seem slow, let the observer ask where or when did any nation advance faster in a labor so complex and so difficult. The President’s message will carry the public mind still more directly and more earnestly on its great work. The war would have had no terrors for the people if they had not feared that the Union could not endure the trial of solving that problem. Apprehensions of that kind are beginning now to be dismissed. In all the elements of strength, power, and stability, the Union is stronger when Congress meets to-day than it was when Congress met a year ago. In all the same elements the insurrection is weaker. Revolutions do not revive their strength or their energy. They must succeed at first, or at least gain advantage continually, or they must perish. A year ago it [Page 708] seemed that any foreign nation might assail and destroy us at a blow. I am sure that no one foreign nation would now conceive such an attempt, while combination of several powers for that purpose is impossible.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Wm. L. Dayton, Esq., &c., &c., &c.