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[390]

In my report to Mr. Seward of January 24, I expressed the belief that even his enemies in France would not be disposed to embarrass the Emperor in respect to Mexico, ‘well satisfied to see him get out of that country by any means, and thus avoid war with the United States’; and I ventured the suggestion that ‘this course would also seem wise on our part.’ In my letter of the same date to General Grant I said:

You will get by this mail Napoleon's speech delivered at the opening of the French legislative session. I was present and heard the speech delivered. That part of it relating to Mexico and the United States was received with very general tokens of approbation, while most of the remainder met with a cold reception. I have since heard it discussed very freely by many prominent men of all shades of political opinion, among others the Prince Napoleon. All seem to recognize the falsity of the Emperor's assumptions where he says: ‘In Mexico the government founded by the will of the people is consolidating itself,’ etc. Yet his statements are, no doubt, believed by a large majority of the French people, and therefore afford him a very good reason for yielding to the demand, made in common by the people of France and the United States, that his intervention in Mexico shall be brought to an end. This is the logic of his position and his solution of his difficulty, viz.: to assert that he has accomplished the object of his expedition to Mexico, and hence to end it. While we laugh at the absurdity of his premises, we can hardly find fault with his conclusion, and hence it is not worth while to criticize any part of his argument. Rather I think it well to let him make the most of his audacity in the creation of convenient facts. The opinion seems to be universal here that the Emperor is sincere in his declarations of intention as to Mexico; indeed, that the has adopted the policy of making the strongest possible bid for the friendship of the United States. It is certainly easy to derive such an opinion from his speech, and I am strongly inclined to believe it correct. Yet we cannot forget the fact that in his speech of last year he used quite as strong language as to the speedy termination of his Mexican expedition. Hence I shall indulge in some doubt until I see the actual development of his present plans. I have no idea that Napoleon

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