would be a fearful price to pay for even so great a good as the freedom of Mexico
Manifestly such extreme measures should not be resorted to until all peaceful means had failed.
Considerations of this nature determined my course while in Paris
I had sufficient opportunity in two interviews with Prince Napoleon, and in several conversations with officers of high rank on the Emperor
's staff, to make known to the Emperor
the views and purposes of the government and people of the United States
in respect to Mexican
Our conversation was without reserve on either side, and with the understanding that nothing said by me would be withheld from the Emperor
The principal of these staff-officers was the distinguished Admiral de la Graviere
, who had commanded the French squadron in American waters in the early part of our Civil War and in the capture of Vera Cruz
This gallant and honest old sailor had reported to his government the exact truth about the enterprise which Napoleon
had undertaken when he ordered the bombardment and capture of the Mexican
seaport for the alleged purpose of collecting a French claim-namely, that he was no better able to collect that claim after the city was in his possession than he had been before, and that the conquest of Mexico
by the operations of a large army would be necessary before any financial return could be expected.
This unwelcome report led to the admiral's recall to France
, and he was sent to his home in disgrace.
But in due time the Emperor
learned that while all others had deceived him, the admiral had told him the truth, whereupon he was called to Paris
, restored to the confidence of his chief, and appointed aide-de-camp on the staff of the Emperor
Admiral de la Graviere
was a warm friend of America
, rejoiced in the triumph of the Union
cause, understood and appreciated the sentiments of the people of the United States
, among whom he had made many