Mr. Motley to Mr. Hunter

No. 108.]

Sir: It seems to me that the time of the department must be too much absorbed by the grave duties of reconstruction at home, and of directing our relations abroad with those foreign states whose conduct during the four years’ war has been less straightforward and loyal than that of the Austrian government has been, to leave many leisure moments at present for attending to less important correspondence.

I shall only say, therefore, in regard to the affairs of this country, that nothing very important has occurred since my last writing. The Emperor is about to make a visit to Hungary, and hopes are entertained that the personal presence of the sovereign may exercise a fortunate influence on the relations between the countries beyond the Leitha and those other parts of the empire which have already accepted the constitution of 1861.

I believe it is expected that before the close of this year the Diet of Hungary [Page 27] will be convoked, during the sessions of which vigorous attempts will be made to overcome the passive resistance hitherto offered by that kingdom to the constitutional union. I should not think, however, that sanguine hopes were entertained of very soon seeing Hungarian deputies elected to take the seats provided for them in the Reichsrath.

The Schleswig-Holstein affair drags its slow length along. The imperial government has consented to the Prussian proposition, that the provincial Diets of the Elbe duchies should be summoned according to the electoral law of 1854, rather than the more liberal one of 1849.

The sovereignty of those provinces still remains in the joint possession of the Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia, and no very rapid steps seem likely to be taken on the part of those potentates to vacate their condominium in favor of any of the rival claimants to the dukedoms. There will be much tedious, legal, and historical disquisition before Prussia will avow herself convinced on the subject, and meanwhile her able and indefatigable prime minister will see to it that the naval and military requirements of that kingdom receive no detriment.

The question of Mexico occupies a very large part of public attention in Europe, and the probable dangers impending over her new order of things, so far as established in that country, is a very fruitful topic of discussion in the journals. I have had no conversation, official or informal, on the subject with the imperial government. My personal views as to this adventure have been long ago expressed whenever fitting occasions offered, and the position of the government of the United States has been fully set forth by my communication of the despatches of the Secretary of State according to his instructions. As I have often had occasion to observe, the imperial government has ever held itself aloof from the whole Mexican enterprise, and disavows responsibility for its results. I suppose that the United States government continues its diplomatic relations with the Mexican republic, and has no present intention of departing from the line of strict neutrality which it has laid down between the contending parties in that country, nor any intention of lending assistance by underhand means to either belligerent. In case any change of attitude is contemplated, I beg to receive as early instructions as possible, and I should be much gratified to be informed, if such a course be not inconvenient, as to any important communications that may have been had on this subject at Washington or elsewhere. It is obvious that my position requires me to be at least as well instructed in this matter as other diplomatic representatives of the United States may be.

I have the honor to remain, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William Hunter, Acting Secretary of State, Washington.