Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward.

No. 214.]

Sir: In obeying the instruction of your special circular, dated the 9th of March, I considered it better to address a formal note to the minister of foreign affairs, covering a copy of the concurrent resolutions of Congress in regard to foreign intervention, than merely to read them to him and leave a copy, since in any event the resolutions would require to be translated into Portuguese.

I transmit, herewith, a copy of my note on the subject. His Majesty’s government had already been made acquainted with our policy and purpose in regard to foreign intervention, both by the views which I took occasion to present when first entering upon the duties of this mission, in connexion with the royal proclamation against piratical cruisers, and subsequently by your own able and exhaustive instructions, which were communicated in substance.

The resolutions in Congress would seem to be intended mainly to indorse and emphasize the previous action of the Executive. In that respect they give force to the declarations of the government, by exhibiting a full accord and unity of purpose among its several departments.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

Mr. Harvey to the Duke de Soulé.

Sir: I am instructed to lay before the government of his Most Faithful Majesty a copy of concurrent resolutions of the Congress of the United States concerning foreign intervention in the rebellion which now unhappily disturbs the peace of the Union, and which, in a greater or less degree, affects its intercourse and commerce with other nations.

These resolutions affirm and emphasize the policy and principles which had been already announced by the executive department of the government; and they may also be regarded as a reflection of the popular will, expressed through the national Congress.

Non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other nations is an honored and traditional policy, which the government of the United States has consistently and faithfully observed, even at times and under circumstances that justly excited the generous sympathy of its people, and when any active interference, responsive to that sentiment, might have given a direction to it, if not have determined great events.

Having thus uprightly practiced its professions of non-intervention towards others, it may be readily assumed that the government of the United States could not consent to accept the mediation, or to tolerate the interference of foreign powers, in a question which, first of all, concerns the exercise of its own authority, the administration of its own laws, the preservation of its peace, and the conduct of its internal affairs.

If there be one subject more than another upon which the feeling, the heart, and the determination of the people of the United States are united and welded together as in one mighty will, it is to terminate the evil strife [Page 1303] which now disturbs the public tranquillity with their own strong arms, and without any foreign interference whatever, whether under the form of mediation or of intrusive intervention.

While the government of the United States has accepted at their full value the friendly protestations which accompanied certain well known offers of mediation, it was constrained to decline them, as being inconsistent with both its policy in the past, and with its purpose in the future. And this decision may be considered as conclusive upon a subject which has occupied a full share of the attention of public men in Europe, and sometimes to the exclusion of affairs and agitations within a nearer range of view, which more specially affected their direct interests, and more naturally addressed their benevolent sympathies.

It is the earnest and sincere desire of the government which I have the honor to represent, not only to preserve peace, but to cultivate the most liberal and friendly terms of intercourse with ail nations, to bind more closely together those which already exist, and to strengthen them with new ties of amity and of enlarged commerce. Interest alone would advise such a policy, if a higher sense of duty did not solemnly enjoin it.

Hence, in advising foreign powers that no form of interference can be admitted, the government of the United States is animated by a desire to prevent all misconception, to the end that the civil strife may thus be deprived of a support upon which its chiefs have long leaned, and that the sad consequences which such a war inflicts, directly and indirectly, may be arrested by its speedy conclusion.

I avail myself of this opportunity to repeat the assurances of my highest respect and consideration.


His Excellency the Duke de Soulé, Minister of Foreign Affairs.