Mr. Campbell to Mr. Seward

No. 9.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 11th instant, of your despatches No. 7, of the 18th November, and No. 8, of the 19th November last.

[Page 189]

In accordance with instructions contained in despatch No. 8, I sought an early interview with Count Manderstrom, minister of state and of foreign affairs. His excellency received me with his usual cordiality, and hastened to communicate the contents of depatches announcing the progress and success of our armies in Georgia, under General Sherman. I then opened the business with which I was charged, by saying that my government had learned with regret that the Baron Nils de Wetterstedt had been despatched to Mexico, on business of a diplomatic nature, as the envoy of his Majesty; that while on a recent occasion it had afforded me great pleasure to express on the part of my government sentiments of appreciation and welcome, in accordance with the high official and private character of Baron Wetterstedt, I was now pained to say to his excellency that his official errand to Mexico was far from being satisfactory to the United States, and that if it did not prevent his official reception, it would certainly impair the cordiality of his welcome; that in thus speaking I did not exceed the letter or spirit of my instructions.

Count Manderstrom here expressed regret that the mission of Baron Wetterstedt should be thus regarded by the United States; and argued that not having reached Washington, or been officially received by my government, he could not be considered as minister to the United States while on his errand to Mexico.

To this I answered, that the note of his excellency, on file in the Department of State at Washington, announcing the diplomatic trust confided to the Baron Wetterstedt, and the reply of welcome on the part of the United States, certainly established inchoate relations in the contemplation of both governments.

Count Manderstrom then assured me that the fact complained of did not originate in any want of respect to the government of the United States; that it had not been practicable or desirable for the governments of Europe to maintain relations with Mexico in her former disturbed condition; that the empire of Mexico was now the only government in that country; that it had, through diplomatic agencies, claimed, and received, recognition of most of the powers of Europe, and he did not think the United States could complain of Sweden adding her recognition to that of her neighbors.

I rejoined, that the United States maintained amicable and full relations with the republic of Mexico, and knew no other government in that country; that she regarded with disapprobation the attempt to establish on her borders institutions inimical to her own; that while the right of recognition, claimed by all sovereign states, involved responsibilities, I was not instructed to make that the ground of complaint in this instance. But it must be apparent to his excellency, in view of the distinctly enunciated sentiments of my government, that any intercourse with the so-called empire, through the envoyé to the United States, must be regarded by them with displeasure.

Count Manderstrom then remarked, he understood, and thought he was not mistaken in saying, that Russia and Belgium had directed their respective representatives at Washington, Mr. Stoeckl and Mr. Blondeel von Ceelebroeck, to proceed to Mexico on similar errands. I contented myself with observing, that upon this fact, or the consequent action of my government, I was not informed.

The minister of foreign affairs then, with great earnestness and warmth, repeated his assurance that no disrespect to the United States had been intended. He reminded me of the long-established friendship of Sweden for the United States, and her consistent avoidance of recognition, or assistance to the confederate rebels, and the frequent aid his Majesty’s subjects had rendered in our armies, thus showing the sympathy which our cause received here, and he sincerely hoped the good understanding heretofore existing might not be interrupted. I expressed the appreciation of the government of the United States for the friendship of Sweden and Norway, and assured him I should take pleasure [Page 190] in conveying the sentiments declared by him to my government, and rose to leave. Count Manderstrom accompanied me to the door, hoping that I would convey the full import of his expressions of respect and amity to my government, and with much frankness added, taking my hand in his, “My dear sir, it was simply a question of economy; Russia has done the same thing, and you know,” said he, laughingly, “you are very good friends with Russia.” “Not better than we have been with Sweden,” said I, and took my leave.

In the course of the conversation Count Manderstrom remarked that Baron Wetterstedt would only remain in Mexico about five days.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


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