Mr. Marsh to Mr. Seward.
Sir:* * * * * * *
In conversation with the minister of foreign affairs yesterday morning, the minister alluded to a recent proposal in behalf of the United States government for the purchase of the iron-clad frigates now building at New York for the King of Italy, and said that his Majesty’s government would very gladly oblige that of the United States in the way proposed; but that the possible and even probable necessities of Italy were such, that in the present aspect of affairs the ministry would not think itself, or be thought by the nation, justifiable in depriving it of any element of military strength which it now possessed or could command. He begged me, however, to be assured that his Majesty’s government continued to feel the strongest interest in the prosperity of the United States and the success of the federal authorities in putting down the present unnatural warfare, and added that it would always be happy to give us any proof of its friendship consistent with the usages of modern international law and civilization.
I am happy to say that the recent expositions of the condition of affairs in America, from the State Department at Washington, have produced a very favorable impression in most parts of the continent, especially in Italy; and [Page 331] though the conduct of the war by the Federal government is still criticised as wanting in energy and severity towards the rebel States, yet its management of our relations with Europe receives unqualified praise from all those European statesmen who are liberal enough to find anything to applaud in the acts of a republican government.
I have the honor to be, sir, respectfully yours,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.