War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1194 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

rations which have been made by this Government to put down the insurrection have every day since the 1st day of May last equaled if not surpassed the daily proportion of those war preparations which were regarded as so demonstrative in Great Britain.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, January 31, 1862.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, Washington.

SIR: The expectations of a declaration of some kind from the Emperor of the French on the subject of the American difficulty which might be made the basis of an agitation here have been disappointed. Whatever is to be done must be originated in Parliament by the avowed friends of the rebels.

All the particular grunds of complaint against the United States have been successively removed from under them. The parties seized in the Trent are now safe on this side of the Atlantic. The blocking up of Charleston Harbor is shown to be no real grievance. The inefficiency of the blocade is the only remaining proposition which it is attempted to suppor by evidence. Even that would be met by proof drawn from the administrations made by the insurgents at home if it could have been supplied in a tolerably authentic form. I regret that I have not at my command any official tabular statement of the number of vessels turned off or taken during the period of the blockade or evidence of the price of the various commodities of foreign growth or manufacture rendered scare by the operations of the blockading force. But inasmuch as the Government is obviously disinclined to sustain an objection of this kind just now the probability is that nothing will be made out of it.

There is then not a particle of solid material for the dissatisfaction with the Government of the United States based on this own policy to make a quarrel out of. Resort must then be had to the simple objection that the rebellion has not been supressed. This wiustifiable cause for early recognition; and upon that issue the sense of the House of Commons will probably be sooner or later taken. At this moment it is impossible to estimate the strength of parties or the character of the division. The impression is that the conservatives generally favor such a mesure of which thus far I see not evidence beyond the general tendency of one or two newspaper in that interest which I have had occasion to suspect not to be trustworthy organs.

I am rather inclined to the belief that this subject has not yet become a party question in the eyes of the members of either side. Each individual therefore indulges in his particular opinion. There is no knowing how soon it may become so. That will depend upon the chances of making anything out of it in case of a conflict. There ministry are notoriously feeble in Parliament whilst the conservatives are strong only whilst confining themselves strictly within a negative position. Hence the situation of both parties rests equally upon an avoidance at least for the present of test questions. Lord Palmerston is sufficiently popular to make it hazardous to attempt to dislodge him by a coup de main in Parliament which would inevitabley be followed by a formidable opposition headed by him. The more eligible course has thus far been thought to be to await the moment which can not be long delayed of