Doc. 137.-diplomatic correspondence.
M. Thouvenel, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was promptly admitted to an interview. Agreeably to your request, I handed to him a copy of the Inaugural Address of President Lincoln, and added that I was instructed by you to say to him, that it embraced the views of the President of the United States upon the difficulties which now disturbed the harmony of the American Union, and also due exposition of the general policy which it was the purpose of the Government to pursue, with a view to the preservation of domestic peace and the maintenance of the federal Union. Here M. Thouvenel asked if there was not some diversity of opinion in the Cabinet of the President as to the proper mode of meeting the difficulties which now disturbed the relations of the States and General Government. I replied, upon that point I had no information; under our system the Cabinet was an advising body: its opinions were entitled to weight, but did not necessarily compel the action of the President; the executive power was, by the Constitution, vested exclusively in the President. I said that I was further instructed to assure him that the President of the United States entertains a full confidence in the speedy restoration of harmony and unity of the Government by a firm, yet just and liberal policy, cooperating with the deliberate and loyal action of the American people. M. Thouvenel  expressed his pleasure at the assurance. I further said the President regretted that the events going on in the United States might be productive of some possible inconvenience to the people and subjects of France, but he was determined that those inconveniences shall be made as light and transient as possible, and so far as it may rest with him, that all strangers who, may suffer any injury from them shall be indemnified. I said to him that the President thought it not impossible an appeal would be made before long by the Confederate States to foreign powers, and among others to the Government of France, for the recognition of their independence; that no such appeal having yet been made, it was premature and out of place to discuss any of the points involved in that delicate and important inquiry; but the Government of the United States desired the fact to be known that whenever any such application shall be made, it will meet with opposition from the minister who shall then represent that Government at this court. I said to him that my mission at this court would soon terminate, and I should have no official connection with the question which it was anticipated might arise upon the demand of the Confederate States for recognition of their independence; that my place would soon be supplied by a distinguished citizen of the State of New Jersey, a gentleman who possessed the confidence of the President, who fully sympathized in his public views, and who would doubtless come fully instructed as to the then wishes and views of the Government of the United States, and that the only request which I would now make, and which would close all I had to say in the interview, was that no proposition recognizing the permanent dismemberment of the American Union shall be considered by the French Government until after the arrival and reception of the new Minister accredited by the United States to this Court. M. Thouvenel, in reply, said that no application had yet been made to him by the Confederate States in any form for the recognition of their independence; that the French Government was not in the habit of acting hastily upon such questions, as might be seen by its tardiness in recognizing the new kingdom of Italy; that he believed the maintenance of the federal Union in its integrity was to be desired for the benefit of the people of the North and South, as well as for the interests of France; and the Government of the United States might rest well assured that no hasty or precipitate action would be taken on that subject by the Emperor. But while he gave utterance to these views, he was equally bound to say that the practice and usage of the present century had fully established the right of de facto governments to recognition when a proper case was made out for the decision of foreign powers. Here the official interview ended. The conversation was then further protracted by an inquiry from M. Thouvenel, when the new tariff would go into operation, and whether it was to be regarded as the settled policy of the Government? I told him that the first day of the present month had been prescribed as the period when the duties would take effect; that I had not yet examined its provisions with such care as would justify me in pronouncing an opinion upon its merits; that it was condemned by the commercial classes of the country; and that I had no doubt from the discontent manifested in several quarters that the subject would engage the attention of Congress at its next meeting, and probably some important modifications would be made in it. The finances of the Government were at this time temporarily emrbarrassed, and I had no doubt the provisions of the new tariff were adopted with a view, although probably a mistaken one, of sustaining the credit of the Treasury as much as of reviving the protective policy. He then asked me my opinion as to the course of policy that would be adopted toward the seceding States, and whether I thought force would be employed to coerce them into submission to federal authority. I told him that I could only give him my individual opinion, and that I thought force would not be employed; that ours was a government of public opinion, and although the Union unquestionably possessed all the ordinary powers necessary for its preservation, as had been shown in several partial insurrections which had occurred in our history, yet that the extreme powers of the Government could only be used in accordance with public opinion, and that I was satisfied that the sentiment of the people was opposed to the employsment of force against the seceding States. So sincere was the deference felt in that country for the great principles of self government, and so great the respect for the action of the people, when adopted under the imposing forms of State organization and State sovereignty, that I did not think the employment of force would be tolerated for a moment, and I thought the only solution of our difficulties would be found in such modifications of our constitutional corn pact as would invite the seceding States back into the Union, or a peaceable acquiescence in the assertion of their claims to a separate sovereignty. M. Thouvenel expressed the opinion that the employment of force would be unwise, and would tend to a further rupture of the Confederacy by causing the remaining southern States to make common cause with the States which had already taken action on the subject. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton.
Department of State, Washington, May 4, 1861.Sir: The despatches of your predecessor, Nos. 117, 119 and 120, have been received. Tho latter, acknowledging the receipt of your letter of recall, and announcing his intended  return, requires no especial notice. No. 117 bears the date of 5th of April last. It contains only an exposition of Mr. Faulkner's views of the policy which this Government ought to pursue in regard to the disturbed condition of affairs at home, but at the same time gives us no information concerning the state of affairs in France. The instructions heretofore transmitted to you, will show you the President's views on the subject Mr. Faulkner has discussed, and these will be your guide, notwithstanding any different opinion your predecessor may have expressed or left on record at Paris. No. 119 bears date of the 15th April last, and contains a report of an official conversation, and also of an unofficial one, held between Mr. Faulkner and M. Thouvenel. In the former conversation, M. Thouvenel asked Mr. Faulkner whether there is not some diversity of opinion in the Cabinet of the President as to the proper mode of meeting the difficulties which now disturb the relations of the States and the General Government. Mr. Faulkner, in reply, said that he had no information on the subject. The matter is of no great moment, yet it is desirable that there be no misapprehensions of the true state of the Government in the present emergency. You may, therefore, recall that conversation to M. Thouvenel's memory, and then assure him explicitly that there is no difference of opinion whatever between the President and his constitutional advisers, or among those advisers themselves, concerning the policy that has been pursued and which is now prosecuted by the Administration in regard to the unhappy disturbances existing in the country. The path of Executive duty has thus far been too plainly marked out by stern necessity to be mistaken, while the solemnity of the great emergency, and the responsibility it involved, have extinguished in the public councils every emotion but those of loyalty and patriotism. It is not in the hands of this Administration that this Government is to come to an end at all, much less for want of harmony in devotion to the country. M. Thouvenel's declaration that the United States may rest well assured that no hasty or precipitate action will be taken on the subject of the apprehended application of the insurrectionists for a recognition of the independence of the so-called Confederate States, is entirely satisfactory, although it was attended by a reservation of views concerning general principles applicable to cases that need not now be discussed. In the unofficial conversation, Mr. Faulkner says that he himself expressed the opinion that force would not be resorted to to coerce the so-called seceding States into submission to the Federal authority, and that the only solution of the difficulties would be found in such modifications of the constitutional compact, as would invite the seceding States back into the Union, or a peaceable acquiescence in the assertion of their claim to a separate sovereignty. The time when these questions had any pertinency or plausiblity, has passed away. The United States waited patiently while their authority was defied in turbulent assemblies and insidious preparations, willing to hope that mediation, offered on all sides, would conciliate and induce the disaffected parties to return to a better mind, but the case is now altogether changed. The insurgents have instituted revolution with open, flagrant, deadly war, to compel the United States to acquiesce in the dismemberment of the Union. The United States have accepted this civil war as an inevitable necessity. The constitutional remedies for all the complaints of the insurgents are still open to them, and will remain so. But, on the other hand, the land and naval forces of the Union have been put into activity to restore the Federal authority and save the Union from danger. You cannot be too decided or too explicit in making known to the French Government that there is not now, nor has there been, nor will there be any — the least — idea existing in this Government of suffering a dissolution of this Union to take place in any way whatever. There will be here only one nation and one government, and there will be the same republic and the same constitutional Union that have already survived a dozen national changes and changes of government in almost every other country. These will stand hereafter, as they are now, objects of human wonder and human affection. You have seen, on the eve of your departure, the elasticity of the national spirit, the vigor of the national Government, and the lavish devotion of the national treasures to this great cause. Tell M. Thouvenel, then, with the highest consideration and good feeling, that the thought of a dissolution of this Union, peaceably or by force, has never entered into the mind of any candid statesman here, and it is high time that it be dismissed by statesmen in Europe. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
--N. Y. Evening Post, May 6.