Mr. Seward to Mr. Nelson.

No. 14.]

Sir: Your despatch of May 1 (No. 33) has been received.

The change of opinion and sentiment which has taken place in Chili in regard to our domestic troubles is the attainment of an important advantage which the President early determined to secure, if possible, by frank, honorable, and generous efforts. It is certainly true that there cannot permanently exist two antagonistical systems of government upon this continent, nor can there always be two commercial systems upon this continent, one of which must have its centre here and the other in Europe. The social differences which distinguish the Latin races from those of northern stock are likely to be long perpetuated on that continent. But there is a constant and rapid tendency towards harmony and assimilation between them in America, and ultimately a constitution of society decidedly American must exist here. Such a change is necessary to secure a complete development of the resources of the continent, and necessary even to render the states which are to exist here safe against domestic divisions and foreign aggression. The change, however, is to be effected not by wars and conquests, but peacefully through the influence of moral causes. Each American state must practice justice and forbearance and cordial friendship towards every other state, and all must come to learn that political institutions, which fail to secure peace and to create prosperity, cannot be upheld even by any combination with foreign powers.

The United States want no more extended empire. The field they occupy is adequate to the employment of all their energies, and ample for the play of their just ambition. Thus content with their boundaries, they daily become more intolerant of the idea of any division of their domain, or any encroachment upon it by foreign powers. These sentiments have thus far been the great invigorating forces of the country in the present war, and have, as we believe, carried us safely to the point where the end begins. We have not been unaware that reactionary forces have manifested themselves in neighboring American states, and threatened a subversion of their republican institutions, and of course a subversion of their sovereignty and independence. It might be doubtful whether states thus menaced could in any case be benefited by material aid borrowed from any foreign nation. Every loan of that kind is ultimately repaid with the loss of a part of the independence which it was intended to save. But the Latin states of America may rest assured that the United States will maintain their own integrity and independence through the greatest trials, and thus show to the world that American institutions possess virtues and advantages which make the nations which enjoy them indissoluble and invulnerable. We invite Chili and all the other American states to cultivate the same spirit, and exhibit the same determination.

The attempt to revolutionize the American Union has already failed. The disappointed faction, if they are to be believed, will seek compensation [Page 1281] for their failure in revenge. They have commenced what they threaten shall be a twenty years’ guerilla war. The measure itself is an evidence of imbecility, and of a profound misunderstanding of the American character. Peace and harmony under the authority of the federal Union are due as a reward to the loyalty and virtue which the American people have practiced in their recent trial, and they are not now far distant.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Thomas H. Nelson, Esq.