I trust you will pardon me for so often venturing to make suggestions in reference to our home affairs. My anxiety about the issue must plead my apology.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
C. M. CLAY.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, January 31, 1862.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, Esq., &c. [London.]
SIR: Your dispatch of January 10 has been received. If it be true as you seem to think possible that we have only averted an occasion for the hostilities which the British Government indicated, and have not at al removed the cause of those hostilities, we still have every reason to be satisfied with or course in the Trent affair.
The American people could not have been united in a war which being waged to maintain Captain Wilkes' act of force would have practically been a voluntary war against Great Britain. At the same time it would have been a war in 1861 against Great Britain for a cause directly the opposite of the cause for which we waged war against the same power in 1812. We shall practice toward Great Britain not only justice but moderation and even liberality in all the exciting transactions which this unhappy domestic contest of ours shall produce.
We have not left Great Britain in doubt of our own confidence in our ability to maintain the integrity of the Union or of our grounds for it notwithstanding the embarrassment which we exterienced in the indirect support which the insurgents derive from nations whose rights we have invariably respected.
We are not unaware nor do we complain of the impatience in Europe which exact from us quick and conclusive victories. We can excume it because even among ourselves at home there is a failure to apprehend that the inssurrection has disclosed itself over on area of vast extent, and that military operations to be successful must be on a scale heretofore practically unknown in the art of war. At the same time we are not unaware of the fact that the impatience of European nations is due chiefly to the inconveniences which they suffer from the contest and not to a careful consideration of the strength and energies of the parties engaged in it. We have every motive they can have and many other infinitely stronger motives for bringing the war to ssible successful conclusion.
We expect that Great Britain will realize not only this truth but another important one, namely, that any solution of this controversy by a division of the Union would be detrimental to British commerce and to British prestige. Believing this we expect that Great Britain will not become a party in the contest against the United States. If insensible to these consideration the British Government shall intervene then we must meet the emergency with the spirit and resolution which become a great people.
The tone of the public virtue is becoming sounder and stronger every day. Military and naval operations go on with success hindered only by the weather which for almost a month has rendered the coast unsafe and the roads impassable.
I have observed that the British people were satisfied with the vigor and energy of the preparations which their Government made for the war which they expected to occur between them and ourselves. It may be profitable for us all to reflect that the military and naval prepa-