Mr. Seward to Mr. Perry
Sir: Your several despatches of July 29, (No. 103,) July 31, (No. 104,) and August 2, (No. 105,) have been received. The President is pleased with the assurance you have received from the Marquis Miraflores that the government of Spain still adheres to its policy of withholding recognition from the insurgents. It is not surprising that all the statesmen of Spain do not fully understand or always bear in mind the divisions of parties in the United States, and their relative policies in regard to the Spanish possessions of Cuba and Porto Rico. Still less does it surprise us that the Marquis Miraflores should have failed to fully the unswerving policy, exclusively American, which determines ted States to decline alliances for purposes of offence or guarantee with tions. Nor is it generally wise or expedient for the government, under [Page 985] any administration, to open its questions of domestic policy in its controversies with foreign states. Nevertheless, you have not erred in bringing to the knowledge of the Marquis of Miraflores the bearing of the present civil war upon the question of slavery at home as well as abroad. The Spanish government can easily determine for itself whether the continued enjoyment of Cuba with slavery is more likely to be secured by a recognition of the insurgents, which would be an act hostile to the United States, than it will be secured by the policy of cordial friendship towards the United States which has induced them for sixty years to respect that occupation themselves, and to insist upon its being respected by all other nations. The United States do not want any more territories, certainly they do not want anymore slaveholding territories. The United States government is not a forcible propagandist of emancipation even at home, although it does not hesitate to strike slavery down when it rises in resistance to the government. Much less is this government an armed propagandist of emancipation or any other policy in foreign countries. But it certainly could not, if assailed by any foreign slaveholding power, show any greater forbearance towards the slavery maintained by a foreign army than it shows to domestic slavery when employed against the government by the insurgents.
If you think it proper that these thoughts should be brought to the attention of her Catholic Majesty’s government, your own discretion must be exercised as to the way of making them known informally to the Marquis of Miraflores.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Horatio J. Perry, Esq., &c., &c., Madrid.