Mr. Haldeman to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have just returned from a conference of more than an hour with the minister of foreign affairs, the first since my return to Stockholm. According to your instructions, I placed in his hand a copy of the “concurrent resolutions of the Congress of the United States concerning foreign intervention in the existing rebellion.” Count Manderstrom then informed me that he was acquainted with the contents of the resolutions—had read them with great interest previously; that he had instructed Count Piper, their [Page 1313] minister at Washington, some time ago, to inform my government that Sweden had no disposition, inclination, or intention to join France, or any other nation, in an offer of mediation, unsolicited; that he considered the advice or proposal of the Emperor of France ill-timed and unnecessary. All Scandinavia, as you well know, sir, abominate the very word “intervention,” as Denmark has been threatened for years with a “Federal Execution.”
Count Manderstrom also referred to the prompt, kind, and honorable action of the government of the United States in the matter of the Norwegian bark Admiral P. Tordenskiold, in language that was most complimentary and flattering to hear.
I also submitted, as instructed in your despatch No. 25, the suggestions of the Postmaster General relating to the proposed conference of postal delegates, as contained in his second communication, dated December 27, 1862, and urged upon Count Manderstrom a prompt and favorable consideration of them. I expect and hope for a favorable reply at my next interview.
I also read to Count M. your despatch No. 26. He informed me that his Majesty, no doubt, would set an early day to receive the friendly gift of the President. He remarked that the King was quite an amateur of arms, his collection of ancient and modern weapons being large and excellent; he knew that the addition of the pistols, an American invention of such far-famed celebrity, would be highly prized for itself, independent even of their being a token of friendship from the President of the United States.
I do not think that any action is required on my part as to circular No. 22, “An act to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain,” as the provisions of that act, with proper explanations, have been made known in an able article, or pamphlet, the production of the United States consul, Mr. Olof E. Dreutzer, at Bergen, Norway, written and published in the Swedish, his native language, and also translated by him and published in the Dansk, the written language of Denmark and Norway.
I have also received circulars Nos. 27 and 28. The act of July 1, 1862, will be complied with by me most cheerfully.
The apprehensions of Mr. Consul Leas were groundless. I well know that disloyal citizens of the United States have been and are now in the city of Hamburg, but none have yet visited Stockholm. Should an effort be made to contract for ships or cannon, my arrangements are such that I would receive immediate information. It would be impossible that aught of this kind, without gross neglect on my part, could escape my knowledge, or fail to attract my attention. The cannon foundries of Sweden, while large and justly celebrated as the best in Europe, are few in number and well known; they are now, and have been for ten years past, engaged to their full capacity (after this government has received her annual supply) on contracts for the governments of France, Belgium, and Italy; besides, the Swedes do not expect large profits, neither will they take large risks.
There appears to be a general apprehension of a general war or revolution all over Europe. A large number of Poles are now in this city, and have been welcomed with great enthusiasm. The press is very violent, and urges that Sweden should take the initiative; that now is the time to rescue Finland from the Russian Bear; that Charles XII saved Poland from the grasp of Peter the Great, and now another and better occasion offered. It is said that the King secretly incited the press and the people; that he is ambitious for military glory, and longs for the opportunity to distinguish himself; that he has set up Charles XII for his model, whom he desires to imitate. One thing is certain, that the King has received the Poles with great consideration; and there appears to be a great difference of opinion between the King and his ministers, who favor a strict neutrality. You [Page 1314] know, sir, that the press of Sweden is free, as free as that of the United States. A very able article appeared, on the 20th of this month, in one of the papers of this city, said to be the production of Count Manderstrom, minister of foreign affairs, in favor of strict neutrality. I think the surmise is correct. Count M. is justly distinguished for his great ability for diplomatic composition, as Lord John Russell found out some time since.
Prince Czartoryski is still here. The citizens of Stockholm gave him a great dinner. His journey through Sweden has been an ovation. He was received as the representative of the cause of Poland by King and people (except ministers) with the same wild enthusiasm as was displayed for Kossuth in America. This is noticeable from the fact that the feelings of the Swedish, while deep and strong, are not subject to sudden and variable passions or excitements.
Let all this be as it may, I feel justified in assuring you, sir, as Sweden was the first to welcome the United States of America into the family of nations, first to recognize our independence and nationality, Sweden will be the last to acknowledge its dissolution.
I have returned to my post with renewed health and vigor, with a much higher estimation of Sweden and Norway as a nation of power and importance than before. Again thanking the President, and you, sir, for your kindness, I remain your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, U. S. A.