Mr. Seward to Mr. Clay

No. 239.]

Sir: I give you herewith a copy of a correspondence which has taken place between this department and the Western Union Telegraph Company, in relation to the suspension of the important enterprise of connecting the two continents by telegraph through Behring’s Straits. You will please present a copy of the correspondence to Prince Gortchacow. You will assure him that while I regret the untoward fact which is thus announced, I cannot withhold an acknowledgment that the Western Telegraph Company has acted throughout in entire good faith, and has succumbed, after much reluctance, to a necessity which it did not anticipate and which it had not the ability to remove.

Certain negotiations between Russia and the United States, with regard to Russian America, which are pending here, may have a result which would necessarily modify the measure which ought to be adopted in regard to the telegraphic undertaking in the present emergency. I do not, for this reason, make any suggestion in regard to such measures, but I shall be happy to be assured that the subject engages the attention of the Emperor.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Casslus M. Clay, Esq., &c., &c., &c.