Mr. Seward to Mr. Bigelow

No. 71.]

Sir: I have now to recur to some suggestions contained in your despatch No. 29, the receipt of which I have already acknowledged, and also to acknowledge, in due form, the receipt of your despatch of February 14, No. 30.

The burden of these matters is an uneasy state of mind in the Emperor’s government concerning our private relations with France, as affected by the war in Mexico.

This government foresaw the present embarrassment, and expressed itself frankly to the imperial government before it intervened in Mexico. It is that embarrassment which now affects the political situation in regard to that country. Even if it were necessary, on our part, to labor for its removal, the traditions and sympathies of a whole continent could not be uprooted by the exercise of any national authority, and especially could it not be done by a government that is so purely democratic as ours. The Emperor’s persistence implies that he yet believes to be certain, what we have constantly told him that the people of the United States, reasoning upon preconceived sentiments and national principles, cannot even apprehend to be possible—namely, that a new European monarchical system can and ought to be permanently established on the American continent, and in territory bordering on this republic. It would seem that all parties must abide the trial of the experiment, of which trial it will be confessed that the people of Mexico must ultimately be the arbiters.

This government has not interfered. It does not propose to interfere in that trial. It firmly repels foreign intervention here, and looks with disfavor upon it anywhere. Therefore, for us to intervene in Mexico, would be only to reverse our own principles, and to adopt in regard to that country the very policy which in any case we disallow.

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I am, sir, your obedient servant,


John Bigelow, Esq., &c., &c., &c., Paris.