Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

No. 400.]

Sir: The message of the President has been awaited with great interest, and has received great attention and favorable comment here.

The general sentiment, in so far as it comes within my observation, favors the policy laid down by him towards those lately in rebellion, and in this, not only those whose sympathies rather incline to the south, but those who are our [Page 612] most earnest friends are mostly united; in fact, political offences are looked upon with charity by the non-governing class, which more decidedly sympathized with our cause during the war, and a policy of forbearance and forgiveness towards the late rebels appears to find more general favor with them. I find some who, in a business point of view, look to the prolongation of the present condition of the south as more favorable to direct trade with Europe, and who hope by its continuance to accomplish what has been vainly attempted here so long, the establishment of direct exchange with the southern ports without the intermeddling of the north.

The financial strength of the country appears to excite more amazement than the evidence of power for war which the rebellion developed. The prompt and unexampled rate of extinguishment of our debt has made an impression, and is destined to have an influence abroad much deeper and more widespread than appears on the surface. Public sentiment is powerfully provoked by such facts to insist that public debts were created to be paid, and that our example should be imitated, and Í think it requires little foresight to predict that the result will be an attempt ere long to commence such a policy on the part of more than one European government under that pressure.

The paragraph in the message touching diplomatic relations with Greece has been generally commented upon by the press here (in connection with the establishment of consulates general in the Danubian provinces) as looking to our taking part in the eastern question, and in sympathy with Russia.

At no time in our history, I presume, has public attention been more alive to every act on our part in connection with our foreign relations, and for the reason that our influence has never been so potential in the world’s affairs, and would be a most important element to be reckoned with if we chose to exercise it.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


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