Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

they have plied those intrigues with more assiduity and energy than they have the work of revolution. In these intrigues they have used bribes and threats as they esteemed the conditions and characters of foreign states. Their pretended revolution was, therefore, a fraud against mankind. The toleration which they received abroad, in the beginning of the strife, may be excused upon the ground of the skill with which they practiced the imposture. But now, when it has been so fully exposed and exploded, that toleration may justly be expected to be withdrawn.

But our representations made to that end are met by a new form of argument based on the assumed desperation of the insurgents. We are told that although everywhere defeated, the people of the insurrectionary region will not submit; that they are determined to carry on the war ; that the belligerents will withdraw from the reach of our navy on the coasts, and the banks of rivers and lakes ; that they will destroy all productions and merchandise which they cannot remove ; that they will leave federal garrisons in their cities a prey to pestilence, and will resort to inland positions inaccessible to the federal armies, and direct from such positions a relentless guerilla war of indefinite duration.

We might give the fullest credence to these representations of the insurgents, and then we might say that a campaign conducted upon the principles thus announced would have no tendency whatever to exhaust the strength or resources of this government. Resistance in such a case would cost far less of life and treasure thau the nation is now expending. But I do not dwell on this point.

I prefer to ask on what ground is it that a faction thus waging intestine war against the government of our country, equally without cause and without hope, could ask to be regarded by friendly states as a lawful belligerent? To regard them in that light would be to subvert maxims of the law of nations universally accepted. It would be nothing less than to niake every state an insidious enemy to the peace of every other state in the civilized world, with the ultimate consequence of general war among all nations. But these menaces are ineffectual and harmless. They assume a condition of public sentiment in the revolutionary states which has no existence. Wherever the Union forces have advanced they have found a sentimeut of loyalty manifesting itself just in the degree that confidence in the ability of the federal government to guarantee the safety of the citizen was restored. This has been the case in the District of Columbia, and in the States of Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida. The federal government has either maintained or resumed its functions in the whole or parts of all the insurrectionary communities. There is no subjugation proposed, nor is any necessary. The federal government has only limited functions to perform, and every community in which it exercises them is, by the very terms of the Constitution, left to exercise self-government in all matters of municipal concern.

The insurgents do not withdraw; on the contrary, they are driven from the coasts, bauks, and shores. Their commands for the destruction of cotton and other valuables fail to be obeyed as soon as their presence is withdrawn. No one fears that the pestilence will obey their summons, and follow their direction in the pursuit of victims. There are no places inaccessible to the federal army and navy, save in the mountainous districts, and there the people, if not altogether loyal, are at least divided. The guerilla war which they threaten must therefore be a social war, confined to portions of the insurrectionary States, leaving the loyal States in the enjoyment of profound . peace. But guerilla soldiery, like all other, must have arms, ammunition, and supplies, and for these they must depend upon labor, and in this case

upon slave labor. Slaves desert their occupations, and even cast off their bondage, just as rapidly as this civil war approaches them. Troops of them are encountered on all the highways, and the federal camps everywhere are crowded with them. Agents of foreign governments are awaiting here to receive them at our hands. Either the insurgents must allow their slaves to escape with impunity, or must prevent them by force. The attempt at prevention converts the civil war at once iuto a servile war. Thus, instead of inaugurating a guerilla war, the insurgents are preparing for themselves the most destructive scourge ever experienced among men.

These facts are calculated to awaken the most serious thought. The reflectious they suggest concern the highest interests of nations, and reach the noblest springs of human action. I forbear from giving them an application to the merely ephemeral interests of my own country or of France. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. WILLIAM L. Dayton, Esq., fv., fc., 8c.

Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward.

No. 156.)

Paris, June 5, 1862. Sir: I have complied with your request in despatch No. 158, by communicating to Mr. Thouvenel the fact that you have given to Mr. Romero informally an extract from my despatch No. 142, which reports the substance of a conversation between us as to Mexican complications.

He said at once that it was quite proper that you should have doue so; he was perfectly satisfied with it. I assured him, further, that the President justly appreciated the directness and frankness of his explanations, and gave to him your despatch No. 152 to be read. After he had finished reading it, he said that notwithstanding all that had passed, he had nothing to alter or to add to his former explanations; that he had instructed their agents in Mexico in conformity with the statements heretofore made and reported by me to you ; that the French troops did not go there to interfere with the form of government, nor to acquire an inch of territory, nor remain indefinitely in the country. All France sought was that her existing "griefs ” should be settled, and some government established which other countries could treat with, and which would protect their commercial agents. I only observed, in reply, that the object of my visit was, notwithstanding what had been said by the commissioners of the allies, to express to him the satisfaction of the President in the assurances he had given; and I added that the United States would yet confidently rely upon those assurances.

It may be difficult to reconcile the published opinions of the commissioners acting for England and Spain in Mexico with these declarations of the French government; but your original despatch instructed me to say that I was not authorized to demand explanations, though the government would be happy to receive them. These explanations have been freely given ; if they conflict with what has been said or done elsewhere, I have not felt at liberty, under my instructions, to make such conflict the subject of comment.

Were it supposed, however, that France proposed to change the form of government and establish a monarchy in a republic next to and adjoining our own, it is not to be doubted that, upon, every just principle of international law or comity between states, we would have the right to demand explanations. Nor do I think that France would have felt disposed to contest such right. The explanations, however, such as they are, have been volunteered by them, not demanded by us. I am, sir, your very obedient servant,

WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency William H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton. No. 164.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, June 6, 1862. Sir: Your despatch of May 22 (No. 149) has just been received.

It brings information of your conversations with Mr. Thouvenel upon the posture of the French government in regard to the civil strife which yet lingers in this country, down to that date. The President is very favorably impressed with the ability and discretion you have employed in those discussions.

You have anticipated and presented in a very imposing manner most of the arguments which are contained in my despatch to you No. 163, which will go out by the same mail which will convey this paper. Nevertheless that despatch is allowed to proceed, in the hope that decisive events are occurfing with such rapidity here that the subject presented will not long be shut out from consideration by the maritime powers of Europe, and that renewed evidences of the President's earnest desires concerning it may not be altogether useless.

During the past week General Pope has cut off the railroads on which Beauregard's army was retreating from Corinth, and has made captures of prisoners, arms, vehicles, &c., on a scale so large that that great force may be considered as no longer existing. With these successes the entire commands of the Mississippi and its banks must by this time have been abandoned by the insurgents.

Jackson, with the forces which expelled General Banks from the valley of Virginia, was met and repulsed at Harper's Ferry, and is now, in his turn, harassed by the Union forces in his flight from Northern Virginia

A fearful battle—the greatest and the most desperate one in the whole war-was fought at Fair Oaks, seven miles in front of Richmond, on Saturday and Sunday last, (May 31 and June 1.) The enemy was driven at all points, and the federal advance now rests within four miles of that city. A final combat is expected to take place within a few days. I forbear to speculate upon its probable result or consequences, since certainty must so soon be developed. I am, sir, your obedient servant, .

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. William L. DAYTON, Esq., 80., 80., fr.

Mr. Daylon to Mr. Seward.

[Extracts.] No. 160.]

Paris, June 12, 1862. Sir: Your despatch No. 160 is received.

The defeat of General Banks, to which it refers, has been commented upon by the great body of the English press as though it were a victory of vast importance to the southern cause. This, together with the check to our - gunboats on the James river, is assumed as altering altogсther the face of things; and the future of the war is now looked upon as a sort of dissolving view. The glass is reversed, and the end, they say, seems more remote than at the beginning. In this condition of things the rumors of recent conserences thicken, and it is said that a strenuous effort is now being made to induce England and France to intervene, in some form, in our affairs. Those who are hostile to the interests of the United States care little in what form this intervention comes. They believe that, should England and France tender mediation or otherwise, and the same be rejected by our government, (as they well know it would be,) these governments could not then stop; that the cotton interests, backed by the national pride of both countries, would urge them first into a recognition of southern independence, and then into an active intervention, if need be, to stop the war. It is seen, too, by those who are unfriendly to the Union of our States, that should success attend our arms in one or two more battles, it would be too late to tender aid to the south; that their condition would not even afford a fair pretext for interference. They do not mean the opportunity shall pass if they can prevent it. What success will attend their efforts I do not know.

I should not attach much importance to these rumors, however well accredited they seem to be, were it not for the exceeding pressure which exists for want of cotton, and the growing fear that the opening of ports merely will not supply that want.

Any hostile interference on the part of France would be much in conflict with the tone of feeling in which she has heretofore and at all times expressed herself. In addition, I do not see how she can suppose that her interference would tend to facilitate the procurement of cotton, which she so much needs. I can scarcely believe that anything effective will be attempted until the consequences of the opening of our ports have been realized; as yet no time has been given.

I get communications from our consuls in different quarters to know what is excluded from our opened ports under the head of "contraband of war." Mr. Chase's circular, as printed in certain New York papers, excludes "all liquors." This would embrace ordinary French and other wines, the sole exports of Bordeaux and other towns. Can this have been the intention of the government ? I am, sir, your very obedient servant,

WM. L. DAYTON. His Excellency William H. SEWARD,

Secretary of Slate, fc., fr., fr.

- Mr. Daylon to Mr. Seward. No. 161.]

Paris, June 13, 1862. Sir: The Mexican complication, so far forth as France's interference is concerned, will, if left alone, soon wear itself out.

The cause of the Archduke Maximilian has literally no support among the French, and but for national pride the expedition itself would be almost universally condemned. Instead of the Emperor availing himself of the services of General Almonte in Mexico, it is getting to be believed that Almonte has availed himself of the services of the Emperor. He has persuaded his Majesty to believe that his presence and influence there would at once revolutionize the country. The whole expedition now resolves itself, as the Mexican consul here believes, into a qnestion whether Almonte can or cannot, with the aid of French influence, be placed, by election, at the head of the government. On this subject, I beg to communicate a fact wbich may or may not be new to you, but which will, at all events, much complicate the above question.

General Santa Anna, who, notwithstanding his character, has, I am told, more support and followers in Mexico than Almonte, has gone, or is about to go, from St. Thomas to Vera Cruz with a view to present himself as a candidate for the presidency, or dictatorship, against Almonte. The latter, aided by French influence, may succeed in the election which is to be gotten up, but it is very evident that Santa Anna's presence will give trouble to Almonte, and may much embarrass the plans of all parties. The above information comes from one General Wall, who himself is upon the point of learing (if he has not already left) for Mexico, to take part in current events, on which side I know not. He was himself an old aide-de-camp of Santa Anna's, and Santa Anna wrote to him that his purpose was as above stated.

As yet, I have learned nothing as to the action of the Count Señor Don Felipe Neré del Barrie, the minister of Guatemala accredited to Spain. He did not go directly to Madrid, but left Paris for Rome, where he now is or lately was. I am, sir, your very obedient servant,

WILLIAM L. DAYTON. His Excellency WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, fo., 80., 8c.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.

No. 166.]

DEPARTMENT OF State,

Washington, June 20, 1862. Sir: An absence of eight days from the capital has worked an interruption of our correspondence.

Your despatch of May 26 (No. 151) has been received. It directs my attention to an article in the Constitutionnel, in which the writer declares that the doubts of the restoration of the Union which he entertained before the capture of New Orleans have not been removed or modified by that striking event. The journal is understood to have a semi-official character, and the opinion which it thus announces is, you think, the same which is entertained by many of the statesmen of France, including the Emperor himself.

The publication thus referred to has not passed unobserved in this country. I can bardly believe that the Emperor, whose influence is so great, whose principles have been understood to be so liberal, and whose sagacity is so generally acknowledged, is sceptical concerning the prospects and destiny of our country. If he is so, I am satisfied that he must have other reasons for his distrust than those which the writer in the Constitutionnel assigns, which are simply an imagined similarity between the present disturbanco and the American revolution. This is a struggle of factious leaders in the south to build up a political empire on the foundation of human slavery, in opposition to the sentiments and sympathies of all mankind, without any foreign aid but such toleration as they can wring from foreign states by destroying the materials for their manufactures. The American revolution of 1776 was an organization upon principles of liberty and humanity, long cultivated in tbe schools of Europe, as well as in the hearts of the people

« AnteriorContinuar »