Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

No. 420.]

Sir: The contemplated purchase of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg by France, and the consequences likely to follow the success or failure of that enterprise, have naturally excited a lively interest here.

While not put forward by this government, and probably will not be, the idea evidently finds favor here that the cession, by purchase of the Duchy, to Belgium, with the assent of the Powers, signers of the convention of 1839, would be the simplest and more satisfactory solution of what has become a serious difficulty. You will doubtless remember that, at the time the convention of 1839 was under discussion, this government offered 60,000,000 francs for the possession of the Duchy, which, from its geographical position, its population and past history, would appear to fall more naturally to Belgium.

On the other hand it is to be feared that the possession of so important a strategic point, even were its present formidable fortresses destroyed, would be a source of additional difficulties for this little State, especially in the event of a war between its powerful neighbors.

The King, who has taken a house at Paris for several months, and proposes frequent visits there during the period of the Exhibition, left for a week’s sojourn there on the 10th. On the 23d he goes to Berlin, to be present at the marriage of the Count de Flander, on the 25th.

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


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