Mr. Seward to Mr. Bigelow

No. 535.]

Sir: * * * * But the point you mention was not distinctly presented to me, namely, what this government would think of the withdrawal of the whole French army in the coming year, instead of its being withdrawn in three semi-annual detachments, commencing next November. What I have said is this: that the arrangement proposed by the Emperor for a withdrawal of the troops in three detachments, beginning in November next, was, in itself, quite likely to be forgotten here, in the political excitement which attends all Mexican questions, before the execution of the agreement should begin. That frequent incidents of various kinds, presented by the press in France and in Mexico as indicating a disposition on the part of the Emperor to depart from that engagement, have unavoidably produced a wide popular mistrust of even the Emperor’s sincerity in making the engagement, and of his good faith in fulfilling it. That by circumstances of this character this department was kept continually under an apparent necessity of protesting against proceedings which were thus weakening public confidence in its very just and well defined expectations. That the government, on the contrary, relies with implicit confidence upon the fulfillment of the Emperor’s engagement, at least, to the letter; and it has even expected that, overlooking the letter, it would be fulfilled with an earnestness of spirit which would hasten instead of retard the evacuation of the French forces in Mexico.

At present, however, we are waiting for the beginning of the evacuation. When that beginning shall have come, the government will cheerfully hear suggestions from any quarter calculated to reassure the restoration of tranquillity, peace, and constitutional domestic government in Mexico; but until we shall be able to refer to such a beginning, any proceedings towards negotiation would only tend to confound public opinion in the United States, and to render the situation of Mexico more complicated.

Of course it is unnecessary to inform you that the speculations which are indulged in by a portion of the public press, concerning relations supposed to be established between this department and General Santa Anna, are without foundation.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


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