Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton

No. 302.]

Sir: Your confidential despatch of January 30, No. 263, has just been received.

I did not doubt that the telegraphic account of the French proposition, which became known here on the arrival of the Europa, was made with the consent of the French government. Nor have I had any more doubt that the proposition itself was the fruit of disloyal communications from this side of the Atlantic. I think, however, that the response the country has made ought to satisfy the French government that it is safer to rely on our official and national authority than on the secret suggestion of a few unhappy partisans among us.

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Persons under the influence of impatience expect greater and more immediate results from any favored measure which is adopted than can be realized. But, on the other hand, the results of judicious policies are quite sure to discomfit those who denounce and renounce them in the first moment of disappointment. We have indications here that the timid counsels which have given some encouragement to emissaries and sympathizers with secession abroad, and have seemed to threaten division and distraction at home, are encountering a reaction that promises health of public sentiment and strength to the government. I cannot allow myself to analyze this evidence, since I think it prudent to refrain in a foreign correspondence, even though a private one, from all unnecessary allusions to the ever-changing phases of political debates at home. You will, moreover, be quite as able to do it as I am.

The Asia’s mails have not arrived at the department, and the outgoing mails are now being closed.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


William L. Dayton, Esq., &c., &c., &c.