Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton
Sir: I have received your despatch of March 25, No. 442, which informs me of the completion of the loan to the Grand Duke Maximilian, and of his anticipated embarcation for Mexico. In order that you may understand the condition of affairs in that country, as fully as they are understood here, I have given you a copy of a communication which has lately been received from our consul at Matamoras.
I give you also, for your information, a copy of a note which has been received from Mr. Geofroy on the subject of the protection which was extended to the consul at that place by Major General Heron, and of my answer to that paper. This correspondence embraces some other incidental subjects. It is proper to say that Mr. Geofroy proposes to communicate to me a statement of another distinct subject of complaint, in regard to proceedings on the frontier, under instructions from Mr. Drouyn de Lhuys, and that I have engaged to bestow due consideration upon it.
I send you a copy of a resolution which passed the House of Representatives on the 4th instant, by a unanimous vote, and which declares the opposition of that body to a recognition of a monarchy in Mexico. Mr. Geofroy has lost no time in asking for an explanation of this proceeding.
It is hardly necessary, after what I have heretofore written with perfect candor for the information of France, to say that this resolution truly interprets the unanimous sentiment of the people of the United States in regard to Mexico. It is, however, another and distinct question, whether the United States would [Page 357] think it necessary or proper to express themselves in the form adopted by the House of Representatives at this time. This is a practical and purely executive question, and the decision of it constitutionally belongs, not to the House of Representatives, nor even to Congress, but to the President of the United States. You will, of course, take notice that the declaration made by the House of Representatives is in the form of a joint resolution, which, before it can ac quire the character of a legislative act, must receive first the concurrence of the Senate, and, secondly, the approval of the President of the United States; or in case of his dissent, the renewed assent of both houses of Congress, to be expressed by a majority of two-thirds of each body. While the President receives the declaration of the House of Representatives with the profound respect to which it is entitled, as an expression of its sentiments upon a grave and important subject, he directs that you inform the government of France that he does not at present contemplate any departure from the policy which this government has hitherto pursued in regard to the war which exists between France and Mexico. It is hardly necessary to say that the proceeding of the House of Representatives was adopted upon suggestions arising within itself, and not upon any communication of the executive department, and that the French government would be seasonably apprised of any change of policy upon this subject which the President might at any future time think it proper to adopt.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
William L. Dayton, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Geofroy to Mr. Seward, April 3, 1864.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Geofroy, April 6, 1864.
Resolutions of House of Representatives, April 4, 1864.