Mr. Seward to Mr. Thayer

No. 17.]

Sir: Your despatch of November 5 (No. 23) has been received. The information which you give of the increasing production of cotton in Egypt is very gratifying. Profitable as the cotton monopoly in our now insurgent States has been to the country, its continuance would, nevertheless, cost too much if it should involve a prolongation of this unhappy and desolating war, or domination of African slavery over the free institutions of the republic. The insurgent monopolists have improved to the utmost the derangement of commerce which they have produced. But only the present moment and narrow commercial interest work in their favor. Time and all the permanent interests of humanity work against them. The result cannot be doubtful.

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The projected railroad from Alexandria to Berenice is an improvement of vast moment, not to Egypt alone, but to the whole world. The United States are at present less directly interested in it than the European and Asiatic powers. But they will not for that reason be any the less disposed to favor and forward the enterprise. They have already entered upon one which is of the same high character and even more stupendous, namely, the extension of the Atlantic system of railroads across the continent to the Pacific ocean. It ought to be the work of the present generation to remove the obstructions to universal commerce which nature has so long maintained on the two continents. It is a fixed purpose of the United States to do their part.

The President is gratified with the new evidences which your despatch brings of the friendship of his Highness the Pacha, and you are authorized to assure him that in all his enterprises for the improvement of his people and important domain he has the sympathy and best wishes of the government and people of the United States.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Wm. S. Thayer, Esq., &c., &c., Alexandria.