War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1204 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, February 19, 1862.

Chevalier J. BERTINATTI, &c.

SIR: I have the President's directions to express to you the satisfaction he has derived from the dispatch which was addressed to you by Baron Ricasoli on the subject of the Trent affair a copy of which you so kindly pu into my hands.

This Government after a full examination of the subject decided that it could not detain the persons taken from the Trent by Captain Wilkes without disavowing its own liberal interpretations of the law of maritime war. It rejoiced therefore in the accidental circumstance that had given it an opportunity to show the same devotion to the freedom of commerce as a belligerent that it has always before manifested as an interested neutral power. If at any time the Government had entertained doubts of the wisdom of its proceeding in the case they would all now disappear at once before the congratulations which it is receiving from the most generous and enlightened nations that have been passionless observers of the transaction. Among those nations while all have spoken with cordiality and without reserve none has spoken with truer magnanimity or more manifest sincerity and earnest sympathy than the Kingdom of Italy, the newest and most free of those nations founded upon the principle of the sovereignty of the people. Her utterance comes evidently from the very heart of a people who yet remember the sad experience how liberty is certainly lost through the loss of their national unity. Have the goodness, M. Bertinatti, to assure the Baron Ricasoli and through him the great and chivalrous Prince who reigns over Italy that their persuasions to the restoration of the American Union in its amplest constitutional proportions shall be early submitted to the American people. They will have more than ordinary prophetic weight as the voice of a nation that is risen from among the dead.

The American Government and people are unanimous in their wishes for the peace, prosperity and happiness of sed to accept, sir, the renewed assurancfe of my very high consideration.


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, March 4, 1862.

J. LOTHROP MOTLEY, Esq., &c., Vienna.

SIR: Your private and unofficial note of February 1* has been received though not until this very late day. In regard to the condition of our affairs in Europe it may perhaps upon the whole be considered fortunate that the Trent affair occurred, even with all its exasperations.

Passion is as natural a condition for nations as for individuals. Secession is a popular excitement, disturbance, passion. It must needs have occurred here, for this country has submitted itself to the counsels of prudence and reason in regard to the disputed points of administration as long as even so very practical a country as this is could submit. Human nature it is now seen could be content no longer. It was needful that the new popular passion should culminate before it could be expected to subside and to do this it must have time. As no one could tell how high the passion must rise so no one could tell how long it would require for culminating. The culmination would be the point of danger, the crisis. All other being in some sort related to


*Not found.