« ForrigeFortsett »
Mr. Dryer to Mr. Seward, (extract, with accompaniments)--...- -- Sept.
Same to same, (with an accompaniment).---------------------- Sept.
Mr. Harris to Mr. Seward, (with accompaniments)--...--. ------ July
Mr. Seward to Mr Harris------------------------------------- Oct.
9, 1861. 21, 1861.
Mr. Black (Secretary of State) to all the ministers of the United States.
DEPARTMENT of STATE, Washington, February 28, 1861.
SIR: You are, of course, aware that the election of last November resulted in the choice of Mr. Abraham Lincoln; that he was the candidate of the republican or anti-slavery party; that the preceding discussion had been confined almost entirely to topics connected, directly or indirectly, with the subject of negro slavery; that every northern State cast its whole electoral vote (except three in New Jersey) for Mr. Lincoln, while in the whole south the popular sentiment against him was almost absolutely universal. Some of the southern States, immediately after the election, took measures for separating themselves from the Union, and others soon followed their example. Conventions have been called in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and those conventions, in all except the last-named State, have passed ordinances declaring their secession from the federal government. A congress, composed of representatives from the six first-named States, has been assembled for some time at Montgomery, Alabama. By this body a provisional constitution has been framed for what it styles the “Confederated States of America.” It is not improbable that persons claiming to represent the States which have thus attempted to throw off their federal obligations will seek a recognition of their independence by the Emperor of Russia. In the event of such an effort being made, you are expected by the President to use such means as may in your judgment be proper and necessary to prevent its success. The reasons set forth in the President's message at the opening of the present session of Congress, in support of his opinion that the States have no constitutional power to secede from the Union, are still unanswered, and are believed to be unanswerable. The grounds upon which they have attempted to justify the revolutionary act of severing the bonds which connect them with their sister States are regarded as wholly insufficient. This government has not relinquished its constitutional jurisdiction within the territory of those States, and does not desire to do so. It must be very evident that it is the right of this government to ask of all foreign powers that the latter shall take no steps which may tend to encourage the revolutionary movement of the seceding States, or increase the danger of disaffection in those which still remain loyal. The President feels assured that the government of the Emperor will not do anything in these affairs inconsistent with the friendship which this government has always heretofore experienced from him and his ancestors. If the independence of the “Confederated States” should be acknowledged by the great powers of Europe it would tend to disturb the friendly relations, diplomatic and commercial, now existing between those powers and the United
States. All these are consequences which the court of the Emperor will not fail to see are adverse to the interests of Russia as well as to those of this country.
Your particular knowledge of our political institutions will enable you to explain satisfactorily the causes of our present domestic troubles, and the grounds of the hope still entertained that entire harmony will soon be restored.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant, . \
Mr. Seward (Secretary of State) to all the ministers of the United States.
DEPARTMENT of STATE,
SIR: My predecessor, in his despatch, number 10, addressed to you on the 28th of February last, instructed you to use all proper and necessary measures to prevent the success of efforts which may be made by persons claiming to represent those States of this Union in whose name a provisional government has been announced to procure a recognition of their independence by the government of Spain. I am now instructed by the President of the United States to inform you that, having assumed the administration of the government in pursuance of an unquestioned election and of the directions of the Constitution, he renews the injunction which I have mentioned, and relies upon the exercise of the greatest possible diligence and fidelity on your part to counteract and prevent the designs of those who would invoke foreign intervention to embarrass or overthrow the republic. When you reflect on the novelty of such designs, their unpatriotic and revolutionary character, and the long train of evils which must follow directly or consequentially from even their partial or temporary success, the President feels assured that you will justly appreciate and cordially approve the caution which prompts this communication. I transmit herewith a copy of the address pronounced by the President on taking the constitutional oath of office. It sets forth clearly the errors of the misguided partisans who are seeking to dismember the Union, the grounds on which the conduct of those partisans is disallowed, and also the general policy which the government will pursue with a view to the preservation of domestic peace and order, and the maintenance and preservation of the federal Union. You will lose no time in submitting this address to the Spanish minister for foreign affairs, and in assuring him that the President of the United States entertains a full confidence in the speedy restoration of the harmony and unity of the government by a firm, yet just and liberal bearing, cooperating with the deliberate and loyal action of the American people. You will truthfully urge upon the Spanish government the consideration that the present disturbances have had their origin only in popular passions, excited under novel circumstances of very transient character, and that while not one person of well-balanced mind has attempted to show that dismemberment of the Union would be permanently conducive to the safety and welfare of even his own State or section, much less of all the States and sections of our country, the people themselves still retain and cherish a profound confidence in our happy Constitution, together with a veneration and affection for it such as no other form of government ever received at the hands of those for whom it was established. We feel free to assume that it is the general conviction of men, not only here but in all other countries, that this federal Union affords a better system than any other that could be contrived to assure the safety, the peace, the prosperity, the welfare, and the happiness of all the States of which it is composed. The position of these States, and their mining, agricultural, manufacturing, commercial, political, and social relations and influences, seem to make it permanently the interest of all other nations that our present political system shall be unchanged and undisturbed. Any advantage that any foreign nation might derive from a connexion that it might form with any dissatisfied or discontented portion, State, or section, even if not altogether illusory, would be ephemeral, and would be overbalanced by the evils it would suffer from a disseverance of the whole Union, whose manifest policy it must be hereafter, as it has always been heretofore, to maintain peace, liberal commerce, and cordial amity with all other nations, and to favor the establishment of well-ordered government over the whole American continent. Nor do we think we exaggerate our national importance when we claim that any political disaster that should befall us, and introduce discord or anarchy among the States that have so long constituted one great pacific, prosperous nation, under a form of government which has approved itself to the respect and confidence of mankind, might tend by its influence to disturb and unsettle the existing systems of government in other parts of the world, and arrest that progress of improvement and civilization which marks the era in which we live. The United States have had too many assurances and manifestations of the friendship and good will of her Catholic Majesty to entertain any doubt that these considerations, and such others as your own large experience of the working of our federal system will suggest, will have their just influence with her, and will prevent her Majesty's government from yielding to solicitations to intervene in any unfriendly way in the domestic concerns of our country. The President regrets that the events going on here may be productive of some possible inconvenience to the people and subjects of Spain; but he is determined that those inconveniences shall be made as light and as transient as possible, and, so far as it may rest with him, that all strangers who may suffer any injury from them shall be amply indemnified. The President expects that you will be prompt in transmitting to this department any information you may receive on the subject of the attempts which have suggested this communication. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant, WILLIAM. H. SEWARD. W. PRESTON, Esq., Madrid.