Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have had the honor to receive your despatch No. 107. Its instructions had already been anticipated to the full extent of your views and wishes. I have uniformly held but one language to all persons, whether in authority or in private station, when the subject of our unhappy strife was broached—to the effect that much as peace was desired, and sad as were the consequences of the war, there could be no cessation of the measures of repression until the civil authority of the government was restored, in all its force and efficacy, over the insurgent communities.
His Majesty’s government is so well assured, from experience, of the reply that would certainly and promptly follow any inquiry or suggestion on this matter, that, either from a consideration of delicacy or for some other [Page 1305] reason equally becoming, the subject has not been introduced recently at all in my presence.
When questions have been addressed to me concerning the war and the situation, I have endeavored to state the facts candidly, as they appeared to me at this distance from the scene of conflict, without any coloring which the results did not justify, and with no promise which the patriotism of the people and the resources of the nation did not entirely warrant. The national cause does not gain, but rather loses, by an excess of confident assurances which a sudden turn of events may derange; and, therefore, I have considered it more prudent, in all my intercourse, to allow the actual facts to interpret themselves, since no official representation can either increase their moral force, or diminish their material value, with intelligent minds.
Hence there is a fair appreciation here of the state of the war, and of the casualties, changes, and chances, to which such a situation is exposed; and I may add, with very little reservation, that, notwithstanding the loss of an accustomed commerce with the United States, and the failure of the usual supply of cotton, which Portugal, as a small state, feels in a proportionate degree with the larger nations, the general feeling toward us is one of sympathy, of kindness, and of considerate friendship—a feeling which it has been my duty and my pleasure to cultivate in every proper way.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.