Mr. Ewing to Mr. Seward.

No. 25.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of the 7th instant, No. 21.

The session of the States General of Holland was closed on the 27th instant, by the ministers of the interior and finance, who announced that the King had determined to decline to accept the resignation of the cabinet, and to appeal to the country.

The fear is general that the coming year will witness the breaking out of a European war. Governments are ready, or in active preparation, for the threatened event, and the populations nervous and irritated. It will require moderation on the part of those who conduct foreign affairs to avert it.

One of the best guarantees for the maintenance of peace lies in the disinclination evinced to strike the first blow, and be held responsible for the incalculable results.

Though the habit of peace is the more difficult to throw off by reason of its long continuance, yet the fact that it has lasted longer than usual is almost of itself sufficient notice that a period will soon be put to it. That the continent will be convulsed during this, or early in the [Page 491] approaching decade, may be asserted with confidence. It may occur in 1868, from careless handling of existing differences, but no cause is now ripe, or apparently nearing maturity, that will probably produce the outbreak.

Holland is permitting the fortress of Maestricht to fall to decay. This is evidence that she intends to rely on her dikes, and will not resist the violation of Limburg, which would involve her at the outset in a struggle from which she fervently hopes to be exempt. * * *

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


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