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Mr. Seward to Mr. Marsh.

No. 32.7


Washington, November 22, 1861. SIR: I have your despatch of October 29, (No. 29.)

The British and French governments, which stand at the head of the maritime powers, having declined our adhesion to the declaration of Paris without conditions which the United States cannot yield, there is no important object to be attained by pressing the same upon other powers. You will therefore let the matter rest in Italy for the present.

I think that when at no distant day it shall need to be renewed, the interest that shall move it forward will appear first on the other side of the Atlantic.

It is a matter of regret that we cannot consistently offer special inducements to military gentlemen in Italy who are unable to defray their own expenses in coming to join our armies; but we are forbidden to do so by urgent considerations. First, we do not need to solicit foreign aid, and we naturally desire to avoid the appearance of doing so. Secondly, we wish to abstain from intrusion into the domestic concerns of foreign states, and, of course, from seeming to do so. Thirdly, our own countrymen are coming forward with just claims upon all positions requiring skill in the art of war, and we must avoid jealousies between native and foreign defenders of the Union. Already the forces in the field exceed half a million, and the officers charged with organizing them report to us that those recently recruited will swell the number to seven hundred thousand. If the insurrection should continue, it will be more difficult to keep them down to a million than to lift them up to that figure. Still, we do not yet revoke what we have thus far said, and we will receive from Europe those who may come. A consul will be appointed for Ancona. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. George P. MARSA, Esq., 8c., fc., Turin.


Mr. Sercard to Mr. Fogg.

No. 2.]


Washington, May 15, 1861. Sir: I have delayed giving you the President's instructions so long because I was preoccupied. For the first time in our history the standard of civil war has been raised with the purpose of overthrowing the federal republic. It is a cardinal point with the seditious in modern revolutions to gain aid, or at least sympathy, in foreign countries. That sympathy is sought in the form of recognition of the simulated sovereignty set up by faction. An act of recognition carries moral weight, and material aid is expected soon to follow it. No state ought to lend its support to revolution in a foreign country except upon motives of justice and humanity. But in point of fact these motives seldom prevail, and nations generally act in such cases upon calculations of profit or ambition, or in the wantonness of mere caprice. It is well understood here that the revolutionary faction has its agents abroad, soliciting European powers to intervene in this unhappy civil war.

It has therefore been my duty, under the President's authority, to instruct our representatives there how to meet them and counteract their designs. I could casily imagine that cither Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria, Prussia, Belgium, Spain, or even Denmark, might suppose that it could acquire some advantage, or at least some satisfaction to itself, from a change that should abridge the dominion, the commerce, the prosperity, or influence of the United States. Each of them might be beliered to have envious sentiments towards us, which would delight in an opportunity to do us harm. I have therefore first addressed myself to the consideration of our relations with those countries. It is otherwise with Italy and Switzerland. The former is yet hotly engaged in the struggle to secure freedom and unity, and the latter enviably distinguished by the rare enjoyment of both. Human nature must lose not only the faculty of reason which lifts it above the inferior beings, but also the benevolence which lifts it up to commune with superior orders of existence, when the security, welfare, and happiness of the United States shall have become even a matter of indifference to Italy or Switzerland. I salute Switzerland last among the European nations only because we esteem and confide in her most.

You will say this, or anything else that may occur to you that would more pleasantly or more effectually assure the government of Switzerland of the cordial good wishes cherished for it by the President and the people of the United States.

You will, of course, need to say nothing to the government on the subject of the domestic difficulties to which I have already adverted. You will, nevertheless, not be absolutely free from all responsibility on this bead. You are in a region where mien of inquiring mind and active habit seck a temporary respite from severe studies and exhausting labors. The world's affairs are discussed freely, and the sentiments and opinions which influence the conduct and affect the prospects of nations are very often formed in the

mountains and dells of Switzerland. You will meet there, if no others, many of our own fellow-citizens, doubtlessly of both classes—the disloyal, sometimes, as well as those who are loyal to the Constitution and the Union. Improve the calmness and candor which the contemplation of nature inspires to dissuade the discontented American from his unnatural ourse and pernicious convictions, and to excite the loyal to return home as speedily as possible to speak, to vote, and, if need be, to enrol himself as a soldier or a sailor in the land or naval forces for the defence of his country, of freedom, and of mankind.

Seventy years of tranquillity and harmony, unparalleled in the experience of states, have made us misunderstand the stage in our national career at which we have arrived. We had to prove, by demonstration in war, that these institutions are adapted to defence against aggression, and even for aggrandizement of empire. The proof was given, and the world has nobly confessed the truth established.

We assumed that faction could not gain consistency and make head under institutions so free, so equal, so just, and so beneficent. This was a mistake less in regard to our institutions than in regard to human nature itself. But self-complacent, and consequently self-deceived, we have come all of a sudden to meet the emergency of civil war, and we find ourselves obliged to demonstrate that our government is adapted to resist and overcome domestic faction. It is a momentous but necessary trial. Perhaps it has not come too soon. Certainly we have no apprehension of failure. Revolutions are seldom successful, even when they have just causes. Revolution without a good cause, amounting to absolute necessity, is never possible in a country where stable government is at all known by experience of its blessings. The present attempt at revolution is based on no alleged experience of oppression. It puts forth only apprehensions of danger of oppression, which the form of the Constitution and the experience of its actual working proves to be altogether impossible. It is a revolution originating only in disappointed personal ambition. Personal ambition is the least effective of all the political agencies that can be found in an extended federal republic. The revolution aims at the life of the country. It gathers the support of only that small, though very active, class of persons who are so thoughtless as to be insensible to the importance of having a country to protect and defend, with benefit to themselves and their posterity. Against it are arrayed the larger portion of our people with whom love of country is the first and strongest of all the social passions—that holy sentiment which in mature life is the strongest passion of our common humanity.

Tell the Swiss republic, then, that with God's blessing we will preserve this model of federal republican government by which they have reformed their institutions, and we invoke them to retain their own with no less fidelity. So Switzerland and the United States shall in after ages be honored as the founders of the only true and beneficent system of human government, a system that harmonizes ncedful authority with the preservation of the natural rights of man. Every free citizen of Switzerland who comes here, so long as he remains, is practically a citizen of the United States. He goes in and out everywhere unchallenged. Nevertheless, the American citizen in Switzerland is a stranger, and the reiterated demand for his passport at every angle in his course reminds him painfully that he is suspected. His least elevated motive for going there is trade and commerce ; but the objects of most of our citizens in visiting Alpine countries are health and study of the more sublime and attractive features of nature and a fervent admiration for the free people who dwell among them. In the United States there is not one man base enough to do or wish an injury to the enlightened government or to the people of Switzerland. Why, then, should not the government

of that country make us conscious of its confidence by allowing us the enjoyment of national hospitality while we are sojourning in their beautiful country?

Please bring this subject to the consideration of the authorities, and if you find them well disposed you will be authorized to conclude a convention with them on the subject.

We very much want good a history of the Swiss Confederacy since its reformation, especially showing how faction developes itself there, and how the government works in preventing or suppressing designs subversive of the federal unity of the republic The President hopes that you will furnish it; as he knows your ability for such a task.

Please also send to the department a copy of the fullest and best history of the Swiss Confederation, (perhaps Muller's.) It is desirable, not only with a view to accurate information upon the points just adverted to, but also with reference to the legislation and its causes of the respective members of the confederation with regard to the Israelites, a subject in relation to which your predecessor has had much correspondence with that government. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


&c., &c., &c., Berne.

Mr. Fay to Mr. Seward.




No. 421.]


Berne, May 18, 1861. SIR :

* Referring to my No. 417, I communicated, in addition to the English printed copy of the inaugural of the President, a carefully made German tra ation. I have some reason to suppose that the commissioners of the seceded States were, or would soon be, in Paris, and as Mr. Dudley Mann was informally my predecessor in Berne, and has personal friends in the governmental regions, and might profit by the occasion to slip over from London or Paris, I had another interview on the subject this morning with President Knüsel. A very severe illness had kept me some time from seeing him. As I have received not a word from the department with regard to my recall, I have not communicated officially with the government upon the subject, but the President commenced, and I am unwilling to repeat his friendly remarks. He alluded, however, to the affair of Neuchâtel, and said I must not think the government had forgotten the services I had rendered to Switzerland, and particularly on that occasion. He repeated several times; but I will not dwell furtheru pon this point.

I asked if they had any news of the commissioners of the seceded States, and said I thought they might perhaps pay Berne a visit. I then addressed to him some earnest words upon a subject in which my whole heart is interested. I told him my public and private intelligence convinced me that the movement of the south would be suppressed ; that it was as insane as it was guilty; that the slowly rising spirit of the north, and the calm and efficient preparations made by the President, would, in due time,

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