Mr. Seward to Mr. Pruyn.

No. 10.]

Sir: I have received your dispatch of the 20th of July, No. 11. In that paper you relate to me that, under the pressure of civil distractions which are prevailing in Venezuela, you left Caracas on the 9th of July, made a voyage to St. Thomas, and returned on the 19th to Caracas, and that the object of that voyage was to procure some United States ship of war to visit the Venezuelan ports. With the better knowledge which is possessed here of the occupation of the North Atlantic squadron, it is not a matter of surprise that you failed to effect a communication with the admiral or other naval officer. The conception of your voyage was loyal and patriotic, and your proceedings are not disapproved. At the same time I respectfully suggest, for your considerate reflections, that, as a general rule, a consular, like a diplomatic officer, may expect to render most effective service by always remaining steadily at his post of duty. The highest wisdom of a diplomatic or consular agent in scenes of civil war consists in preserving coolness, equanimity, and impartiality between contending factions.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Erastus C. Pruyn, Esq., &c., &c., &c.