Mr. Seward to Mr. Sullivan.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of the 29th of May, No 6, which was written at Baranquilla.
The way of civil war is precarious and uncertain. It is practically impossible for us, at so great a distance, to apprehend the exact condition of the political conflict which has recently broken out in the United States of Colombia. We earnestly desire that order, repose, and peace may prevail in that country; but its condition, nevertheless, depends little upon our wishes, and, on the contrary, chiefly, depends upon the practical wisdom of the people of Colombia.
We do not desire to recognize political changes unnecessarily or prematurely, while at the same time we are well aware that changes are likely to occur which may force themselves upon the attention of foreign and friendly states.
Under existing circumstances, I think it proper to give you a word of caution not to commit yourself by formally recognizing any [Page 1016] constitutional change of government until you shall have referred the subject to this department for the consideration of the President of the United States.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Peter J. Sullivan, Esq., &c., &c., &c.