Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your two despatches (Nos. 81 and 82) of the 23d and 24th of December.
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Europe is quiescent on American affairs. Since Fredericksburg, it too generally countenances the belief that the United States cannot conquer [Page 883] the rebellion in its fastnesses with their troops in the field. It waits now to see what will result from the proposed emancipation measures.
Time is fast showing who is right and who is wrong in their views of foreign interference in our affairs. I am well pleased to be informed that the President concurs in the opinion I have had the honor to express on a former occasion on this subject. My own judgment is, that not even Fredericksburg will prompt any act of recognition.
It is not single occurrences that exercise a controlling influence over the views here taken of our concerns, but only the general march and aspect of events. These of late have not been favorable, but nobody knows how soon things may take a turn if the government continues resolute in its purposes. Europe will thus wait till the government itself flags, though always with a chronic distrust of the wisdom and constancy of popular rule.
The late elections are taken to imply a coming capitulation to the insurrection, and the recent cabinet crisis to evince inopportune impatience in quarters that ought to be steady enough to calm rather than to increase the disorders of the state.
Yet, amid all the disasters and perplexities of the situation, the feeling, on the whole, is one of surprise at the regular workings of the American system, and there is not any rush to precipitate conclusions in regard to our affairs.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.