Mr. Motley to Mr. Seward.

No. 182.]

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your despatches Nos. 181 and 182, of 30th April and 3d May, together with an enclosure of the copy of your note to the Marquis de Montholon, under date of 25th April.

I much regret to find that my proceedings in the first days of April, as recounted in my despatch of that month, No. 158, have not met your approval.

As the subsequent course of events would seem to take from those personal proceedings of mine any public importance, I should consider it unbecoming and improper to intrude upon your time with vindications or explanations of my course. I venture to believe, however, that if you would bear in mind that my latest despatches then received from you were Nos. 167 and 169, of date 19th March, and 170, of date 20th March, your judgment of my course might perhaps be less unfavorable.

My object at the time of the above mentioned despatch was threefold: first, to lay your protest textually before the imperial royl government without loss of time; secondly, to furnish authentic and exact information as to the extent of military aid about to be sent out of these dominions for the government of the Archduke Maximilian; thirdly, to provide you with a clear exposition of the relations [Page 665] which the imperial royal goverment considered itself to be maintaining in Mexico. The last branch of the task was not so simple as the two first, because much time was likely to be consumed before an official answer to an official note would probably be received. I therefore wrote out myself at once what I understood to be the position in which the Austrian government regarded its relations with Mexico, and submitted it for confidential perusal to the imperial royal minister.

I did not suppose that by so doing I was identifying myself, still less the United States government, with those views. I simply thought that by stating their position as they regarded it as clearly, faithfully, and strongly as it could be stated, you would be the better able in reply to deal with the subject in the manner you thought the most appropriate and thorough, and to instruct me accordingly.

In conclusion, I would venture respectfully to express the hope that whatever may be thought of my own part in this grave affair you will not be dissatisfied with the general result.

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


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.