Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.

No. 77.]

Sir: There is a hopeful sign here in respect to our finances. The money men of Holland have begun to buy our government securities. There is quite a general movement at Amsterdam in this direction, where our 6 percents. are being taken up at about 64. At the lately ruling rates for gold in New York this price pays a small profit on stock purchased in that city. There have been no large operations, but each capitalist is taking a moderate sum and laying it away to wait for results. Of course, the movement is based on the conviction that our finances have about touched bottom. I do not doubt that a good deal of this feeling has arisen from the decided opposition that Mr. Chase has manifested to any further debasement of the currency, and to the conviction that he is both able and determined to get our money affairs on to a better basis. Should this conviction be fortified by further experience, we may look to see the movement take a wider sweep and our securities gradually rise. Our chief difficulty is, that the constant issue of legal-tender notes, which are here believed to be the most mischievous form of government paper, and which have already reduced the income on American securities almost one-half to European holders, deters investors from buying even the government stocks where the interest is payable in coin. They fear lest they may suddenly find themselves compelled by law to take “legal tender” for their interest money, and unless they can count upon a limit to its issue they do not know whether they are in the end to get even a 2 per cent. income. The government credit would unquestionably still further improve if its policy was seen to be fixed in opposition to further issues of this description. The intelligence by the last mail that Congress is engaged upon a new tax bill, which will add one hundred millions to the revenue, is very assuring, and the very thing that was needed here to still further stimulate the disposition to buy government stocks

The propositions made in Congress to employ black soldiers by the government is attracting attention here, by reason of the fact that it is a subject on which this government has had experience. Some years ago they wanted soldiers for service in Java, where the climate is deleterious to the [Page 887] whites. They accordingly went to their settlements in Africa, near the Cape, and enlisted 3,000 raw Africans. These men were transported to Java and properly disciplined, when they were found to make some of the best fighting soldiers the government ever had in service. They became renowned for their enthusiasm and prowess, and every way exceeded the expectations formed of them. An arrangement was entered into for an additional supply, but, owing to English interference, only the original 3,000 were sent. Many of these acquired military medals, and others became thriving persons in the colony, at the expiration of their term of service. The upshot of the Dutch experience is that no better soldiers than the African need be sought for.

The late Duke Bernhard, of Saxe-Weimar, who held command in the Dutch East Indies for several years, expressed similar opinions to me last year.

I have had the honor to receive your despatch of the 4th of this month, No. 87.

I have the honor to be your most obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.