e immediate possession of two or three good armored ships, capable of entering the Mississippi, would be of incalculable value to us, and though the hope of thus obtaining them is not sanguine, I still deem it proper to attempt it. You will, therefore, if you have not already acted, take such measures for this purpose as you may deem best.
In reply to the portion of the foregoing despatch, which referred to the possible purchase of one or more ironclads from the French Navy, I informed Mr. Mallory that inquiries have been, and continue to be, made.
Most of the ironclads already built, or now under construction for the European powers, are either too large, and of too heavy draft, for our especial purposes, or they are mere floating batteries, too small and heavily armed to cross the Atlantic.
The subject was fully discussed with Mr. Slidell, and he did not see how the negotiation could be opened in such a way as to get the proposition before the Emperor, unless it should appear