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whether cotton will come, even after the government shall have opened the ports.
Upon this point you may safely assure him that all apprehensions are, in our view, groundless. The American people, in the southern as well as in the northern States, are a civilized, industrial, considerate, and Christian people, and therefore they are a practical people. A seditious faction has induced the southern people to appeal from the constitutional decision by ballot, upon a question of administration, to the unconstitutional test of arms. They, like ourselves, are obliged by the laws of our social condition to submit to the decision of arms when it is made. Of course reckless leaders threaten, in advance of the decision, that it shall not be respected, and, of course, some of them will attempt to prevent acquiescence in it after it shall have been made. They could succeed, however, only by instigating a guerilla war, and that form of warfare would find no support in any part of this country.
You will reassure the French government of the disposition and purpose of the President to remove the extraordinary restraints which have been laid upon commerce, just so far and so fast as it can be done compatibly with the attainment of the sole object of the contest on our part, namely: the re-establishment of the Union.
It would be disingenuous to close this communication without adding that now, as heretofore, it is the firm opinion of the President that it is in the power of the Emperor of France himself to render it absolutely certain that the efforts this government is thus making for the pacification of the insurgent region shall be crowned with immediate and complete success. The insurgents, hemmed in on all sides, without possessing a port or any other egress, and ruined and demoralized, as they are, are not any longer, even if at any previous time they have been, entitled to the forbearance of foreign powers as a public belligerent. Their persistence in resisting the government of their country depends on the groundless hope of foreign intervention which they indulge. So long as they are regarded by foreign nations as a belligerent, they will not relinquish all expectation of such intervention. This view, however, has been already submitted to his Majesty more than once, and it is therefore unnecessary to enlarge upon it, or to re-enforce the arguments in support of it heretofore advanced. A new argument, however, offers itself at the moment when I am closing this despatch. Information comes from Florida that the people of that State, whose ports and harbors have an importance in regard to commerce only inferior to their value in regard to naval defence, are already taking the incipient measures for a renunciation of disunion and a complete restoration of the authority of the United States. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. William L. Daytox, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.
[Extract ] No. 131.]
Paris, March 31, 1862. Sir: *
* * *
* * * * * * * Sir: *
* Your communications to Mr. Mercier in respect to opening a way for the transmission of letters to New Orleans, &c., from French houses, have, I think, been made known to this government. They seem to feel an interest in the accomplishment of this purpose, but subordinate altogether to the question of cotton. That is now the great and leading point of interest between them and us. The changed condition of things at home has driven out of mind (or at least out of our political conferences here) all questions as to the efficiency of the blockade as now maintained. The French government has come to the conclusion, I think, that we will get possession of the cotton ports, but they seem now to be troubled with grave doubts whether in that event, even, cotton will be forthcoming. This suggestion, as I have already said, was made by the Emperor, and afterwards was repeated by Mr. Thouvenel. I told Mr. Thouvenel that it was possible that foreign purchasers might find it necessary to send their agents into the interior for the purpose of buying directly of the producer, instead of their factors at the seaports, but that I did not doubt that cotton enough would remain undestroyed in the southern country to supply existing wants. I again called his attention to the propriety of his government's retracing its steps in regard to its concession to the insurrectionists of belligerent rights, referring him to the considerations in reference thereto stated in your despatches. He gave me no reason to suppose they would at present comply with this request. On the contrary, he said that it would scarcely be worthy of a great power, now that the south was beaten, to withdraw a concession made to them in their day of strength. I asked him, in reply, how long this concession was to last? How far it was expected we should go in crushing out this rebellion before it would be withdrawn? I said that it might well happen that, even after the southern ports were in our hands and their armies subdued, that bodies of men-brigands and guerillas-might be found in arms in some sections of the country, and I begged to know whether they were then yet to be considered as a “belligerent power?" Whether their flag was yet to be respected ? He said it was impossible to answer these questions without conference with England. That they had acted in these matters upon an understanding throughout. But, he said, if we took possession of the ports, the war would be altogether internal, and France would have nothing to do with it; that if we had the ports in our possession, no southern cruisers could get out, and the recognition of their flag would practically be a matter of no importance. I told him that some cruisers were already out-the Sumter for instance. “Oh!” said he "she is fast; she can't move." I then told him that, aside from foreign ports, from sundry points upon our own coast, (not ports by law,) small armed craft might steal out to prey upon our coasting trade, if their right to do so was recognized by maritime nations. This fact, together with the countenance and moral support which the concession of belligerent rights gave to the rebellion, made it most desirable to the governient of the United States that it should be ended. He seemed to think that we attached an undue importance to this. He said that their own consuls reported to them that the south were very much dissatisfied with France ; that they complained that they had been badly treated, and threatened even to send their consuls and citizens out of the country. He said, furthermore, that we knew very well that all the sympathies of France and her people had been with the north from the beginuing, and we could yet see how these sympathies tended from the mode in which the commissioners of the south had been received here.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 1, 1862. SIR: Your despatch of March 18 (No. 127) has just been received.
I have anticipated the chief subject presented by you in a previous communication, No. 133.
New Orleans, and all the other southern ports which have not yet fallen into our hands, are not now left to a mere blockade, but are in a state of siege, during the continuance of which correspondence and commerce of course are suspended. The result of the siege will probably transpire while this paper is on the way to its destination. We expect success, and after it we shall seek to restore commerce. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
: WILLIAM H. SEWARD. WILLIAM L. Dayton, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Seward to Mr Dayton. No. 137.]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 8, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of March 19 (No. 128) has been received.
It is a source of much pleasure to us that the European maritime powers are engaged in discussing among themselves the defects of the law of neutral rights in maritime war. We are nut ambitious to enter into these debates so long as our divisions shall continue to impair our national prestige. If we succeed soon in healing those divisions, as we now expect, then our interests will more than ever be found moving in the line of the liberal principles which we have so constantly advocated and maintained. In any case, I think it cannot be long before some of the continental maritime states will be brought by their own embarrassments to see how deeply they themselves are interested in our resumption of our former preponderating infillence in favor of neutral rights. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. William L. Dayton, Esq., gc., fc., sc.
Mr. Seward lo Mr. Dayton. No. 138.]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 15, 1862. Sır: Your despatch of March 25 (No. 129) has been submitted to the President.
It relates to a conversation which you held with the Emperor on the 25th of March last.
The President is pleased with the fact that you have had an opportunity, under favoring circumstances, to submit his opinion concerning the desirableness of a revocation of the imperial decree by which the insurgents were recognized as a public belligerent.
The Emperor is understood to have avowed in that conversation that this decree was made upon the assumption then commonly held by European statesmen, that this government would be unable to maintain the authority of the American Union. After discussing the changed condition of affairs, so far as it was then visible in Europe, bis Majesty reverted to the question so naturally presented to liis mind, whether cotton would be speedily procured from the United States when the national forces shall have come into occupation of the ports in the so-calied cotton States.
I am instructed now to give you a more full and particular survey of our military position as it is at the present moment, to enable you to show to Mr. Thouvenel that it is such as authorizes friendly nations to assume, as a fact, the certainty of the failure of the insurrection.
Secondly. I am to show you how the immediate commercial interest of France is involved in an early revocation of the concession of belligerent rights to the insurgents.
A map of the middle, southern, and southwestern States accompanies this paper and elucidates it.
You will bear in mind that all those States called slave States are the seat of the insurrection, and that all the other States called free States, together with the Territories, are free from its presence, and even from the roots from which the insurrection sprang. Not a division, brigade, regiment, or even a company of men, organized in or derived from any free State or Territory, is in arms against the Union. Some of the border slave States have furnished regiments to each cause. But Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia severally have sent very large forces into the armies of the Union. Missouri has been cleared of all organized bodies of insurgents, and for some time the outrages once committed by the few roving guerilla bands there have ceased.
The battle of Pea Ridge, in which General Curtis beat the chiefs Van Dorn, Price, McIntosh, and McCullough, has firmly established that general and the national colors in the northwestern part of Arkansas, which is an interior slave State. In Kentucky, a border slave State, no insurgent force remains. All the fortified positions of the rebels have been abandoned, and the State of Tennessee, an interior slave State, has been crossed by the advancing army of the nation, which, after the victories of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, the occupation of Bowling Green, Nashville, Murfreesborough, and Columbus, a few days since captured the fortified position of Island No. 10, with one hundred and twenty-five guns and six thousand prisoners, and two days afterwards beat the revolutionary army, eighty thousand strong, at Pittsburg Landing, killing their general-in-chief, Albert Sidney Johnson.
Within the last few days General Mitchell, by a forced march and subsesequent evolutions, inanitesting extraordinary vigor, occupied, without loss, Huntsville, Stevenson's Station, and Decatur, and thus possessed himself of one hundred and ten miles of the Charleston and Memphis railroad, with two hundred prisoners, twenty locomotive engines, and a large number of rail. road carriages, which will be very useful in future operations.
This stroke is very important, insomuch as it cuts the great artery of communication by railroad between Memphis and Richmond with the southeastern (slave) States. Jacksonsborough, in Eastern Tennessee, has been visited by our forces, which are thus seen to be approaching Knoxville, the principal city of that always loyal part of the State of Tennessee.
The western part of Virginia has been cleared of insurgents, and General Frémont has set his columns in motion in that direction from Monterey and Moorefield. General Banks is ascending the valley of the Shenandoah. General Blenker's division is on the march from Warrenton towards Strasburg to unite in that movement which promises to cut the Richmond and Covington railroad first, then the Southwestern Valley railroad of Virginia, and so sunder the communication between Richmond, the seat of the pretended confederacy, and Knoxville.
General McDowell, with the army which covers Washington, reports that the insurgents have retired upon Richmond from the new line which they recently attempted to establish on the Rappahannock and the Rapidan. The eastern shore of Virginia has been entirely relieved of insurgents by General Lockwood's brigade.
Generals McClellan and Wool, at Fortress Vonroe, and on the peninsula between the York and James river, are laying siege upon Yorktown, which covers the approach to Richmond from Chesapeake bay.
General Burnside occupies the cities, sounds, and coasts of the eastern part of North Carolina, an interior (slave) State, and holds Fort Macon by siege, which cuts it off from all succor
The national forces have cleared all insurgent bodies from a territory which embraces one hundred and fifty thousand square miles, and which, at the last census, returned a population of three millions. One-half of the coast of South Carolina and the whole coast of Georgia, and the harbors, cities, and coasts of Eastern Florida are occupied by the army under the command lately of General Sherman, now of General Hunter. The fortresses of the Florida reef at Key West and the Tortugas islands at the harbor of Tampa Bay and Cedar Keys are all garrisoned by national forces. Ship Island, Biloxi, and Pass Christian, on the coast of Mississippi, the head of the delta of the Mississippi river, are also fully occupied by federal troops. Fort Pulaski, on the Savannah river, and commanding Savannah, having undergone bombardment several days, has at last succumbed. There is scarcely a harbor on the coast of the insurrectionary States, from the Chesapeake to the Mississippi, which is not held and hermetically sealed by a force occupying some island or battery, as well as by the blockading squadron. Charleston, St. Mark's, Apalachicola, and Mobile, although not occupied by troops, are yet closely blockaded by our fleet. New Orleans is threatened by the bomb fleet of Captain Porter, who is ascending, and by the iron-clad flotilla of Captain Foote, which is now descending the Mississippi with General Pope's victorious arny under convoy. A few days will probably complete the opening of the Mississippi river, and restore to the country that national outlet of the great granary of America which disunion, in its madness, has temporarily attempted to obstruct, in violation not more of political laws than of the ordinances of nature.
An iron-clad fleet is being rapidly concentrated to reduce Fort Sumter and the fortifications of Mobile.
The national forces contain not one drafted conscript or other involuntary soldier. They have risen to the number of seven hundred and eleven thousand men. They are amply provided with arms of precision, artillery, wagons, horses, steamers, and other means of transportation, clothing, and all the provisions and appliances of war.
Supplies are cheap and abundant. The magazines contain clothing and tents for several months, and the people are pressing upon the commissariat their requests to furnish additional stores. An order from the Secretary of War to receive no more volunteers brings back remonstrances from indi. viduals and States.
Twenty-five thousand prisoners, carefully guarded in the loyal States, find themselves better sustained, better clad, and more humanely treated than they were when bearing arms against the government. The insurgent chiefs have for months resorted to levies en masse and to drafts, forcing the young and the aged, the loyal and the disloyal alike, into their unnatural service. The troops of the Union are all well equipped, well drilled, well