Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.
Sir: The conference met on Monday, as many thought, for the last time. The result disappointed expectation. A truce for thirty days, from the 12th instant, was agreed on. This is said by the London Times to have saved the ministry; for a motion of want of confidence was in preparation, which would probably have been carried had the conference broken up. There is a visible increase of the war feeling. It showed itself most unmistakably in the House of Commons on Monday night, when the announcement of the Danish naval success off Heligoland was received in a manner scarcely consistent with the customary decorum of that body.
But although this difficult corner has been turned, there is no marked increase of confidence in an ultimate settlement of the dispute. The German powers show no signs of yielding a jot of their advantages without securing their object in the practical dismemberment of Denmark. On the other hand, the proposition of the Germans to submit the question of their status to the popular decision in the duchies themselves, which appears to receive the indirect countenance of France, seems to carry with it the possibility of consequences in every direction that are scarcely likely to secure it a favorable hearing. If the treaty of 1852 be adhered to as the basis of settlement, the object of the war in satisfying Germany will not have been gained by the two great powers. If, on the other hand, it be abandoned, there seems to be no alternative but the popular will. Any pretension of Prussia to claim the duchies for her own benefit will receive little countenance in any quarter, whilst it cannot be said that the recovery of her authority by Denmark is at all probable. The plan which would seem the most likely to arrive at some result would be, whilst conceding the nominal sovereignty of Denmark, to recognize the duchies in some form as a constituent portion of the Germanic Confederation. This would be a virtual triumph of Germany, and equivalent to the elimination of Denmark from the list of the powers of Europe—a result which, so far as it is possible to judge from appearances, would be regretted only by Great Britain. The true reason of this must be found in the fact that it embraces in reality the most democratic community on the continent. In the state of things thus described, it does not seem likely that any immediate decision will be arrived at in the conference. The attention of all Europe will then be apt to continue for some time fixed upon the proceedings in this capital.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.