Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward

No. 269.]

Sir: I yesterday communicated to Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys the substance of your despatches, Nos. 284, 285, and 287.

He expressed pleasure in learning the general character of instructions given to our military authorities at New Orleans, and joined with you in the expression of a hope that, under these new instructions, difficulties at that point would cease.

Before leaving Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys, he voluntarily called my attention to the alleged intrigue on the part of France to separate Texas from the south, stated in the late intercepted correspondence of Mr. Benjamin, published in the American and European journals.

He said that there was not the slightest truth in the suggestion that they had at any time authorized interference in Texas, and that he should visit with heavy censure (“pound them,” was the expression used) those subordinate officers for assuming to interfere in what did not belong to them. He added that if the French government had thought of so serious a step as interfering to separate Texas from the South, it could scarcely be supposed to be so poor in agents as to select those small officials for such a purpose; that in such an event they could easily have sent out a secret agent or agents, well instructed as to the views and purposes of the government; that in point of fact nothing of the kind had been done or thought of. I thanked Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys for the information he thus volunteered.

That correspondence of Mr. Benjamin, by the way, proves conclusively, (what we have so often written to you,) that the confederates were making large use of money to control the European press. In his letter of December 13, 1862, to Mr. De Leon, (addressed to the care of Mr. Slidell,) he urges [Page 712] the extension of the “field of his operations,” so as to embrace, if possible, the press of Central Europe in his campaign; and he promises to send him an early remittance, &c. The insurgents have taken an enlarged, and, I think, a very intelligent view of the requirements of their position, and have acted upon it from the beginning. While prosecuting their campaign at home, they have at no time failed to remember that public sentiment abroad would have much to do with their ultimate success or defeat. They have spared no money or means, therefore, in their attempts to mould this sentiment in Europe to their purposes.

There are many of the citizens of the southern States in Paris, and I am informed that they are generally of the opinion that we will have peace in sixty or ninety days. They speak of it with great confidence, and, of course, it is to be a peace according to the southern programme. The Union is to be abandoned, as a thing of course. The great basis on which this hope rests is, I am informed, the late despatch of Mr. Drouyn de l’Huys, advising the appointment of commissioners, &c. I can hear of nothing else.

A correspondent of the London Post says, he learns that a confederate loan of five millions sterling has been negotiated through the house of Erlanger & Co., in conjunction with leading capitalists of London and Liverpool; stock to be eight per cent., and price to contractors eighty per cent. The truth of this statement is at least doubtful. Your means of judging of it are as good or better than my own.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


His Excellency Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c.