Mr. Seward to Mr. Pike.


Sir: By direction of the President, I transmit to you a copy of concurrent resolutions of the Congress of the United States concerning foreign intervention in the existing rebellion.

In compliance with a request made by that body, you are instructed to make the resolutions known to the government to which you are accredited. You will perform that duty by reading the resolutions to the minister for foreign affairs, or by delivering to him a copy thereof, if that course shall be preferred by him.

You are authorized to say, at the same time, that the resolutions are entirely in harmony with the principles and policy by which all the President’s proceedings in regard to the question involved have been, and will continue in every emergency to be, regulated.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


James S. Pike, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

Same to all the diplomatic agents of the United States.

CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS of Congress concerning foreign intervention in the existing rebellion.

Whereas it appears from the diplomatic correspondence submitted to Congress that a proposition, friendly in form, looking to pacification through foreign mediation, has been made to the United States by the Emperor of the French, and promptly declined by the President; and whereas the idea of mediation or intervention in some shape may be regarded by foreign governments as practicable, and such governments, through this misunderstanding, may be led to proceedings tending to embarrass the friendly relations which now exist between them and the United States; and whereas, in order to remove for the future all chance of misunderstanding on this subject, and to secure for the United States the full enjoyment of that freedom from foreign interference which is one of the highest rights of independent states, it seems fit that Congress should declare its convictions thereon: Therefore—

Resolved, (the House of Representatives concurring,) That while in times past the United States have sought and accepted the friendly mediation or arbitration of foreign powers for the pacific adjustment of international questions, where the United States were the party of the one part and some other sovereign power the party of the other part; and while they are not disposed to misconstrue the natural and humane desire of foreign powers to aid in arresting domestic troubles which, widening in their influence, have afflicted other countries, especially in view of the circumstance, deeply regretted by the American people, that the blow aimed by the rebellion at the national life has fallen heavily upon the laboring population of Europe: yet, notwithstanding these things, Congress cannot hesitate to regard every proposition of foreign interference in the present contest as so far unreasonable and inadmissible that its only explanation will be found in a misunderstanding of the true state of the question and of the real character of the war in which the republic is engaged.

Resolved, That the United States are now grappling with an unprovoked [Page 890] and wicked rebellion, which is seeking the destruction of the republic that it may build a new power, whose corner-stone, according to the confession of its chiefs, shall be slavery; that for the suppression of this rebellion, and thus to save the republic, and to prevent the establishment of such a power, the national government is now employing armies and fleets, in full faith that through these efforts all the purposes of conspirators and rebels will be crushed; that while engaged in this struggle, on which so much depends, any proposition from a foreign power, whatever form it may take, having for its object the arrest of these efforts, is, just in proportion to its influence, an encouragement to the rebellion and to its declared pretensions, and on this account is calculated to prolong and embitter the conflict, to cause increased expenditure of blood and treasure, and to postpone the much-desired day of peace; that, with these convictions, and not doubting that every such proposition, although made with good intent, is injurious to the national interests, Congress will be obliged to look upon any further attempt in the same direction as an unfriendly act which it earnestly deprecates, to the end that nothing may occur abroad to strengthen the rebellion or to weaken those relations of good will with foreign powers which the United States are happy to cultivate.

Resolved, That the rebellion, from its beginning, and far back, even in the conspiracy which preceded its outbreak, was encouraged by the hope of support from foreign powers; that its chiefs frequently boasted that the people of Europe were so far dependent upon regular supplies of the great southern staple that, sooner or later, their governments would be constrained to take side with the rebellion in some effective form, even to the extent of forcible intervention, if the milder form did not prevail; that the rebellion is now sustained by this hope, which every proposition of foreign interference quickens anew, and that without this life-giving support it must soon yield to the just and paternal authority of the national government; that, considering these things, which are aggravated by the motive of the resistance thus encouraged, the United States regret that foreign powers have not frankly told the chiefs of the rebellion that the work in which they are engaged is hateful, and that a new government, such as they seek to found, with slavery as its acknowledged corner-stone, and with no other declared object of separate existence, is so far shocking to civilization and the moral sense of mankind that it must not expect welcome or recognition in the commonwealth of nations.

Resolved, That the United States, confident in the justice of their cause, which is the cause, also, of good government and of human rights everywhere among men; anxious for the speedy restoration of peace, which shall secure tranquillity at home and remove all occasion of complaint abroad, and awaiting with well-assured trust the final suppression of the rebellion, through which all these things, rescued from present danger, will be secured forever, and the republic, one and indivisible, triumphant over its enemies, will continue to stand an example to mankind, hereby announce, as their unalterable purpose, that the war will be vigorously prosecuted, according to the humane principles of Christian states, until the rebellion shall be overcome; and they reverently invoke upon their cause the blessings of Almighty God.