Mr. Marsh to Mr. Seward.

No. 170.]

Sir: On the 27th of November I received a circular from the Foreign Office, a translation of which, marked A, is hereto annexed. I immediately prepared a reply, anticipating in part the substance of your instruction No. 158, of October 27th ; but that instruction having reached me on the 29th, before my note was copied to be sent to the ministry of foreign affairs, I suppressed the reply I had drawn up. Inasmuch as the instruction contained the nearest approach which circumstances admitted to the “explicit declaration” required by the Italian government, and further the time was too short to allow of much preliminary discussion, I thought it expedient to deliver a full copy of the instruction to the ministry, instead of making a verbal communication of its purport, or of putting the argument and assurance in any less formal and authentic shape.

I therefore left a transcript of the instruction at the Foreign Office, with a note, of which a copy, marked B, is hereto annexed. According to the practice of this government, the question was referred to the ministry of finance; but I was informed at the ministry of foreign affairs, on Saturday last, that no conclusion had yet been arrived at on the subject, though I was encouraged to expect a reply before the post of to-day. No reply, however, has yet been received to my note.

I have the honor to be, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,


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

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