Mr. Seward to the Western Union Telegraph Company

Gentlemen: I have received your communication of the 25th instant, and have not failed to lay the same at once before the President.

I am not one of those who have been disappointed by the complete and magnificent success of the international Atlantic telegraph. Nor am I one of those who fear that the United States will enjoy less of its wonderful benefits than any other nation. I regard it as tributary to an expansion of our national commerce, and ultimately of our political institutions, both of which I think are important forces in the progress of civilization. I would not have the Atlantic cable become dumb again if thereby I could immediately secure the success of the inter-continental Pacific telegraph enterprise which was committed to your hands. Nevertheless, I confess to a profound disappointment in the suspension of the latter enterprise. I admit that the reasons which you have assigned for that suspension seem to be irresistible. It is impossible for private individuals or corporate companies to build telegraphs without capital; and it is equally impossible for individuals or corporations to procure capital for telegraphs that do not promise immediate or at least speedy revenues.

On the other hand, I abate no jot of my former estimates of the importance of the intercontinental Paeific telegraph. I do not believe that the United States and Russia have given their faith to each other and to the world for the prosecution of that great enterprise in vain. The United States government is enlightened and wise. The Emperor of Russia is liberal as well as sagacious. Prince Gortchacow is a pleasant as well as frank correspondent. I will with pleasure make your explanations known to him, and with the President’s leave I will ask a conference upon the question, “What shall be done next?”

Accept my thanks for the frankness and cordiality of your communication.

I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant,


The Western Union Telegraph Company, New York.