War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1182 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

[Translation.]

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS,

Paris, January 19, 1862.

M. HENRY MERCIER, Minister of France at Washington.

SIR: I have received the dispatch * * * which confirms the news of the restitution of Messrs. Mason and Slidell. You already know what has been the satisfaction which the Government of the Emperor has derived from this.

I now do myself the pleasure of attesting that the communication which you were instructed to present to the cabinet of Washington was received in the same spirit of cordial frankness that inspired it and that Government of the Emperor was not mistaken in its expectation of finding the United States maintaining that position upon which they had been a lon time in accord with France in defence of the same principles.

Receive, sir, the assurances of my night consideration.

THOUVENEL.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Vienna, January 20, 1862.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

SIR: No dispatches have been received from the Department of State at this legation since my last. The purpose of this brief communication is simply to express my sincere congratulations upon the able and honorable manner in which the dangers createdy the Trent affair have been averted.

I have not thought it a part of my duty to obturde my reflections or my advice upon the Govenment whilst this matter was pending. Even had the administration required assistatnce from abroad-which ast the event has proved it did not-there were not waiting able heads and hands at London and Paris to communicate everything of importance in the way of counsel or information. Nor do I desire now that this momentous with any reflections of my own.

I will merely state therefore that during this anzious period of suspense-during the six wells which have elapsed between the arrival of the news of the arrest of the commissioners and that of their liberation-I have held without wavering one language in all my communications with the members of the Government here and with the represantives of foreign powers-that our Government would do all that was possible in honor and in consistency with internation law to avoid a rupture with England. I have always taken the ground that our whole history shouwed us to have been uniformly the champions of the rights of neutral and of the largest liberty of the seas, and that I could not imagine under so trivial a temption that we were now likely to abanon our most chershed principles in exchnage for the violent and lawless practice too often pursued by England when belligerent to ourselves and other powers when neutral. I knew that administration of our affairs was in the hands of upright and sagacious statesmen and I constantly expressed the hope that their treatment of this untoward event would signally put to shame the unjust and venoumous spirit by which the English press with a few honorable exception has been characterized.