Mr. Wood to Mr. Seward
Sir: On the 1st instant I went to Fredensborg, some twenty miles or more from here, to wait on the King and deliver the present of the President. On presenting the same with the President’s wishes for his health and happiness, and the peace and prosperity of this ancient Scandinavian kingdom, whose people were so near akin to the Anglo-Saxon race, I stated “that the revolvers were an American invention, of American manufacture, and American material, and that if his Majesty should ever have occasion to use them in defence of his kingdom and of the rights and privileges of his people, (now among the freest in Europe,) he would find them as true as the material of which they were [Page 1189] made, and as unerring as right and justice demanded. That though we were now engaged in a war to resist an unprovoked rebellion and to defend the Constitution, that the mission of the United States was peace with all the world; that whatever might be the wishes of her people for the liberty and happiness of other people and nations, the policy of the government was never to be engaged in any but a defensive war, never to interfere with other nations, and never to be interfered with, and when this war was at an end, Europe would see its large armies quietly disbanding and resuming their accustomed peaceable pursuits. That the present war was an attempt on the part of the confederates to establish a slave oligarchy, and to perpetuate an institution to which all civilization and Christianity was opposed, and its instigators had not only desolated their own homes and plunged the whole country in mourning, but they were starving thousands of operatives on this side of the Atlantic; and yet, notwithstanding this, through the false representations of their emissaries in Europe, (all of whom had sworn to support the Constitution, and not a few of whom had held office under the government,) they were trying to embroil some of the governments of Europe by inducing them to intervene in the affairs of the United States; that I could only say, that all active foreign intervention would intensify the miseries already caused by this war and indefinitely prolong them. That I had assurances that the government of the United States would sooner or later put down this rebellion, and with it remove forever the cause of it, thus securing lasting peace. But whether the war should be speedily terminated or not, I was confident that nothing would occur on the part of the federal government to disturb the peaceful relations which had so long existed between his Majesty’s government and that of the United States, who were most desirous of lasting and honorable peace, and who were pursuing the only effective measures to secure it.” His Majesty was much pleased with the present of the pistols, thanked the President again and again for them, expressing his hopes that the Union would be preserved and peace restored. My reception was most cordial. I will soon send his answer in full. I think the Danish officials appreciate very highly this kindness on the part of the President; for, whatever may be their opinion as to the possibility of preserving the Union, they, unlike some others, do not wish its destruction.
I remain, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.