Mr. Seward to Mr. Clay

No. 272.]

Sir: Your dispatch of the 20th of November, No. 165, which relates to the case of Adolphus Portugalski, has been received.

The question which arose in that case is of kin to one which is now becoming the subject of earnest debate between the governments of the United States and Great Britain. It has an equal relationship to a question which has engaged the attention of the United States and Prussia. Certainly it would be desirable, if practicable, to avoid carrying the discussion into our intercouse with the imperial government at St. Petersburg.

[Page 462]

I accept, therefore, and commend your discretion in disposing of the case of Portugalski informally, leaving only the abstract question to remain. I shall not lose sight of that question; but of course I shall try to treat it in a manner so considerate and friendly as to show the courteous good will and friendship of the United States towards Russia.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Cassius M. Clay, Esq., &c., &c., &c.