Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward
Sir: I had, on the 10th instant, an audience of the King at the palace of Lacken, to deliver the letter of the President to his Majesty.
On presenting the letter I said to his Majesty that the President, desiring to manifest his appreciation of this new proof of friendly feelings towards the government and people of the United States, had acknowledged the reception of the award which his Majesty had given in the Macedonian case, by a letter which I had the honor to deliver to his Majesty.
The King responded in the usual friendly and cordial spirit towards the United States, which has always marked my interviews, and expressed his pleasure in contributing to continue and strengthen those friedly relations which had ever existed between the two countries. He then referred to the war, and, speaking with earnestness of his desire to see peace established, expressed the hope that an arrangement would be made which should put an end to this destruction of life and resources, and enable the country to resume its career of prosperity. Even if peace were acquired only at the cost of a separation, the northern States must ever continue the dominant power, he continued; and was it not better to stop the war now, even on that condition, rather than continue the struggle till complete exhaustion? He spoke, he said, in our own interests, and in a spirit of friendliness for the United States. I replied, after the many proofs we had received of his Majesty’s friendly feelings towards us, we could have no doubt of the disinterestedness of his Majesty in giving this expression to his views. We were convinced, however, that the only way to secure permanent peace was to suppress the rebellion, by force if necessary, and we still thought we had the strength to do it.[Page 1171]
A lengthened conversation touching the United States and the war followed, in the course of which, referring to the many marks of respect which had been shown to him by the people and the government of the United States, and his intercourse with many of our eminent citizens, he spoke in terms of gratification of the visit of Mr. Seward here, over three years ago, and the enlightened interest then manifested by him in the freedom of the Scheldt, now so happily accomplished.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.