minister at Paris
; and similar letters were sent to several other United States
ministers in Europe
But time passed until November 4, and thus more than two months elapsed before the Secretary of State
was ready for me to start for Europe
then gave me a confidential letter, dated November 4, 1865, addressed to Mr. Bigelow
, and a letter of credit on the Barings, and requested me to proceed on my mission.
In his letter to Mr. Bigelow
he said: ‘General Schofield
proceeds to Paris
He is, I believe, fully informed of the feelings and sentiments, not only of this government, but of the American
I commend him to your confidence,’ etc. Mr. Seward
explained to me several times during this period of delay that correspondence then going on with the French
government rendered it advisable that my visit be delayed until he should receive expected answers from that government.
The Atlantic cable did not then exist, and hence correspondence across the ocean was necessarily slow.
The expected despatch—viz., that from the French
Foreign Office to their minister at Washington
, dated October 18, 1865, and communicated to Mr. Seward
on the 29th of the same month—was no more satisfactory, though in better tone, than those which had preceded.
In effect it demanded a recognition by the United States
of the government of Maximilian
as a condition precedent to the recall of the French
The time had evidently arrived when Napoleon must be informed in language which could not be misunderstood what was the real sentiment of the government and people of the United States
on the Mexican
It was difficult, perhaps impossible, to express that sentiment in official diplomatic language that an emperor could afford to receive from a friendly power.
It was therefore desirable that the disagreeable information be conveyed to Napoleon in a way which would command his full credence, and