Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward.
Sir: The subject of the Scheldt tolls, of the settlement of which between Belgium and Holland I suppose you have heard from Mr. Sanford, has been determined quite to the satisfaction of Holland. This government is very willing to receive the thirty-six million francs stipulated to be paid in the [Page 894] settlement, in lieu of the current tolls now collected by it, not knowing how soon those tolls might be made the subject of spoliation. The leading European governments do pretty much what they like with these secondary or dependent powers, and, on an open question, like these tolls, they would be sure to dictate terms, sooner or later. In acceding to the arrangement now made, the government of the Netherlands feels that it shelters a weak point from the assaults of those who dismembered their territory in 1831, and forever closes one tempting avenue of attack.
Holland, as well as some other small kingdoms, has been solicited by France and England to unite in the diplomatic movement of addressing notes to the Russian government on the subject of Poland. This cabinet acceded to the request and sent their note to the Dutch minister at St. Petersburgh to be read to Prince Gortchakoff.
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The reported military movements of General Banks in the Red River country are regarded here as possessing more significance than any recent event of the war; the military possession of the interior of Louisiana by the federal forces appearing to promise important results through the severance of Texas from the rest of the States in rebellion, thus holding out a prospect of the early reduction of the whole country west of the Mississippi river.
It is thought if this could be once effected, and slavery overturned effectually in that extensive district, it would furnish a very important basis for the settlement of our difficulties.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.