Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward

No. 396.]

Sir: You have probably seen the within correspondence between Mr. Davis and the Pope before this; but as it is translated and printed in the Moniteur of this morning, I herewith enclose it to you.

The design of this quasi recognition of Mr. Davis, who is addressed as “illustrious and honorable president,” is manifest. It is a last effort to get up some feeling against the north among the Catholics, and to use, perhaps, the influence of the Holy Father to stop his Irish votaries from volunteering. I had learned some short time since that an effort was being made to get up a correspondence for some such purpose, and spoke to the Pope’s Nuncio here on the subject, but he attached no importance to it, and did not, as he said, believe it. Of Mr. Slidell he spoke as an entire stranger, saying he had never seen him but once in his life, and then casually only.

The correspondence does not, it is true, amount to much, but it illustrates the unceasing activity of the rebel chief in reaching for aid to every possible source.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.

[Extract from the Paris Moniteur—Translation.]


The Havre Correspondence publishes the following letters from Mr. Jefferson Davis and from his Holiness Pius IX:

Richmond, September 23, 1863.

To his Holiness the Pope, Pius IX:

Most venerable chief of the Holy See and sovereign pontiff of the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman church:

The letters which your Holiness has addressed to the venerable chiefs of the Catholic clergy of New Orleans and New York have been communicated to me, and I have read with emotion the terms in which you have been pleased to express the deep sorrow caused you by the carnage, the ruin, and the desolation, which are the consequences of the war now waged by the government of the [Page 14] United States to the States and peoples who have chosen me to preside over their government, in which letters you command these chiefs and their clergy to exhort the people and the authorities in the exercise of charity and the love of peace.

I am deeply sensible to the Christian charity and sympathy which have inspired your Holiness in the reiterated appeal made to the venerable clergy of the Catholic church, to induce it to use all its authority in behalf of the restoration of peace and tranquillity.

I therefore deem it my duty to express to your Holiness personally, and in the name of the people of the Confederate States, that we are deeply sensible of the sentiments of love and of Christian charity which have guided your Holiness on this occasion, and to assure you that this people, threatened, even within its very hearthstones, by a cruel oppression and by a fearful carnage, desires now, as it has always fervently desired it, the termination of this impious war; that we have manifested in our prayers, addressed to our Heavenly Father, the same sentiments as those with which your Holiness is animated; that we do not wish any evil to our enemies; that we do not covet any of their possessions; but that we only contend that they may cease to desolate our country, to shed the blood of our people, that they permit us to live in peace under the ægis of our institutions and of our laws, which protect every one, not only in the enjoyment of his temporal rights, but also in the free exercise of his worship.

I therefore pray your Holiness to accept, on my part, and on that of the people of the Confederate States, our sincere thanks for your efforts in behalf of peace. May the Lord prolong the days of your Holiness, and have you in His holy keeping.

JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Confederate States of America.


The Pope has made the following reply to President Jefferson Davis:

Illustrious and honorable president, greeting:

We have just received with all the proper benevolence the persons sent by you to deliver to us your letter under date of the 23d September last. We have experienced no ordinary pleasure on learning from those persons, and through this letter, with what sentiments of joy and gratitude you have been animated, illustrious and honorable president, so soon as you had knowledge of our letters to our venerable brothers, John, archbishop of New York, and John, archbishop of New Orleans, under date of the 18th of October of the last year, and in which we have, with all our power, excited and exhorted these venerable brothers to the end that, in their piety and their episcopal solicitude, they should endeavor, with the most ardent zeal, and in our name, to put an end to the fatal civil war which has broken out in those countries, in order that the American peoples should finally come to a common peace and concord, and to love one another charitably.

It has been particularly agreeable to us to learn that you, illustrious and honorable president, and these same peoples, are animated with the same desires of peace and tranquillity which we have, in our letters hereinbefore referred to, inculcated upon our aforenamed venerable brothers. May it at the same time please God that the other peoples of America, and their directing powers, considering seriously how grave a civil war is, and how great are the evils it entails, may be willing finally to listen to the inspirations of a more calm spirit, and adopt resolutely the cause of peace.

[Page 15]

As to ourselves, we shall not cease to address the most fervent prayers to the all-powerful God, that he may bestow upon all the peoples of America a spirit of peace and charity, and that he may withdraw them from the very great evils which afflict them.

We supplicate at the same time the good and merciful God to bestow upon you the lights of His grace, and to attach you to us by a perfect union.