Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

A Few Letters and Speeches of the Late Civil War by August Belmont (DNC Chairman)

New Orleans, La.

New York, December 6, 1862.

My Dear Sir,— Our mutual friend, Mr. Butler Duncan, has given me your kind message contained in your recent letter to him.

Allow me to thank you most cordially for it in Mrs. Belmont’s name and my own, and to assure you that it was very grateful to our feelings to hear that your lamented son remembered us kindly before his sad and premature death. These sentiments were most sincerely reciprocated by us.

We sympathize deeply with your bereavement, the extent of which we can fully appreciate by the rare qualities of heart and mind of the deceased which have endeared him to all who knew him.

I unite my prayers with yours, that it may please the Almighty to put a stop to this fratricidal war, which has desolated our once so happy country for the last eighteen months.

Unfortunately, designing and selfish politicians have, in both sections of the country, been allowed to falsify public opinion. I know that the vast majority of the Northern people are not Abolitionists, and that they are willing and ready to secure to the South all her Constitutional rights within the Union, under a most liberal construction. Our recent elections are a clear evidence of this, and I hope that the conservative men of the South will so view it. To a separation they will never consent, because they feel that a separation does not mean the formation of two powerful confederacies living alongside each other in peace and amity, but that it would be followed ere long by a total disintegration, and by the creation of half a dozen republics, swayed by military despotism, and soon destined to the same fate as Mexico and Central America.

One has only to look at the map of what two years ago constituted the United States, then the happiest and most prosperous country on the face of the globe, in order to be convinced of the utter impossibility of a separation.

It is true the war which has been raging with so much fury on both sides, has inflicted much woe and suffering both North and South. Nobody deplores this more deeply than I do, and nobody worked harder to avert it.

Cannot the conservative men in both sections prevent a further duration of all this misery ? There have been faults and errors on both sides, and the bitter fruits which they have borne are a sure guaranty against their recurrence.

Both sides have been taught to appreciate each other’s patriotism, endurance, and courage. With all its miseries, this war has revealed to us and to the world the immense power and the inexhaustible resources of our country. We could, if reunited, confidently look forward to a destiny as a nation such as history has not yet witnessed and the brightness of which dazzles the wildest imagination.

And is all this to be sacrificed to sectional passion and prejudice, fanned by designing politicians for their own selfish ends!

Excuse me, I pray, for having allowed myself to be carried away on this topic, but I feel so deeply for our common country that I could not resist the impulse.


New York, November 25, 1862.

The Arabia’s news from Liverpool to the 16th inst. is telegraphed from Cape Race, giving us the outline of M. Drouyn de l’Huys’ circular on mediation, and the reply of Lord Russell, declining for the present to join in any overtures of that nature to our government.

The course pursued by your government is the only wise and politic one at this moment, and it is to be regretted that the French cabinet should have adopted this public mode of calling upon the European governments to interfere in our affairs. It has the appearance of a determination to force mediation upon the American government and people whether they want it or not. This will, I fear, produce a bad effect, and make mediation very unacceptable hereafter.

From the tenor of the European advices in general, it is evident that there exists a misapprehension, both in England and France, with regard to the intentions of the conservative party of the North, which has just carried the elections.

This party, while opposed to the ultra and arbitrary spirit of the administration, and while willing to secure to the South her rights guaranteed by the Constitution, within the Union, will not accept of any compromise which has not the reconstruction of but one government over all the thirty-four States for its basis. I have seen Governor Seymour, and many of the leaders of the Democratic party, and I am sure that this is the general programme laid down as the guide of their future action.

A national convention for the purpose of modifying our Constitution, in order to take away from the ultra men, South and North, the power of future mischief, and by a better defined limitation of Federal and State power, prevent the re-occurrence of the calamities which have now befallen us, can alone restore lasting peace and prosperity to this country. Toward such a result the efforts of mediation of friendly powers might be directed—any other solution is impossible.

Under the same date, a letter to the same purpose was written to Baron James de Rothschild of Paris.


Fellow-citizens,—It is with extreme diffidence and hesitation that I comply with the flattering invitation of your worthy Mayor to address you this evening. I feel, however, that it is the duty of every good citizen, at this moment, to exert what influence he may be able to command, and so I will also raise my feeble and inexperienced voice in the good cause of the Union and the Constitution. We meet here to-night in the midst of the most fearful crisis of our nation’s history. A century has not passed away, and the magnificent edifice raised by the fathers of the Republic to last for all time, and which already spreads its protecting dome from ocean to ocean, is tottering to its very foundations. A deep-laid conspiracy, fanned by sectional passion and reckless leaders into open rebellion, has at last assumed the proportions of a gigantic revolution, against which the immense resources placed by our people at the disposal of the government, have thus far proved powerless.

When the rebellion first broke out, the North, conscious of its strength and the righteousness of its cause, thought that it could, with a slight effort and in a short time, crush it and vindicate the superiority of the law. Our army, hastily collected, full of bravery and patriotism, but badly armed, drilled, and commanded, was, by the insane clamor of meddling politicians, hurled against the fortified stronghold of the rebels, selected and defended by skilful and experienced generals. We suffered a most disastrous defeat—our army was decimated and demoralized, and hardly could claim any longer the name of an army.

The battle of Bull Run was a sad and terrible blow to the Union cause, but we derived one great benefit from it. The government and people awoke to the conviction that political partisans and editors, however meritorious and talented they may be in their sphere, were not the men to lead our brave soldiers to victory. They had to stand aside to make room for the young chieftain called by the President to save the Republic, threatened at the very seat of the Federal government.

George B. McClellan came. Out of chaos and utter confusion he created one of the finest armies of modern days, and that in a space of time not longer than it took military France, with a standing army of five hundred thousand men. to prepare for her last Italian campaign. Then we saw Burnside in the South, and Halleck in the West, drive the rebels like chaff before them; then, under the well-matured plans of our young commander-in-chief, success followed for months our arms, wherever our brave army and gallant navy carried the stars and stripes.

But here again political meddlers and ambitious demagogues step in and arrest our victorious progress. They stop recruiting when men were more than ever wanted to finish up the good work so well begun; they deprive McClellan of the chief command; they interfere with his plans; they reduce his forces, and thus doom our brave Army of the Potomac to defeat and disaster, when months ago Richmond would have been ours had McClellan been left untrammelled. Congress, instead of contenting itself with voting supplies for the vigorous prosecution of the war, and declaring, by an unequivocal attitude, that this war is carried on solely and purely for the Union, the Constitution, and the maintenance of the laws, again throws the apple of discord among us by ill-timed and ill-advised legislation on slavery. Military commanders in Missouri, South Carolina, and Louisiana follow the pernicious example, and instead of attending to their duties as soldiers, issue unauthorized and unconstitutional proclamations calculated to irritate and embitter the South, and estrange it still more from the Union. It is true Mr. Lincoln, whose good and conservative intentions nobody can doubt, disavows these proclamations, but Fremont, Hunter, and Phelps were kept in command by the influence of their Abolition friends, and soon we see the unhappy results of all this.

The South, where, only a few months back, more than one-third of the population was utterly opposed to secession, becomes united as one man; they follow blindly those very leaders against whom so many had battled to the last, but whose predictions that this war was waged by us for abolition and destruction of Southern property, they see now on the eve of being verified.

On the other hand, the North, which, with unexampled unanimity and total oblivion of all party distinctions, had rushed to the defence of our flag, becomes, now, distracted and divided. It was, and is still, ready to fight for the Union and the Constitution, but it is not ready to initiate a war of extermination, and to plunge the South into all the horrors of a servile insurrection. You have seen the fearful consequences of these dissensions and the intermeddling of ignorant politicians and demagogues; our brave soldiers given up to the command of inefficient generals, the flower of our army sacrificed to their ignorance and incapacity, Washington in danger, Maryland invaded, and Pennsylvania threatened.

And now again, as a year ago, the government has to call upon McClellan to save the sinking fortunes of the Republic. For months past he had been traduced and vilified in the halls of Congress and on the floor of the Senate ; his capacity and courage—nay, even his loyalty—questioned by a large portion of the Abolition press; the brave troops, who almost worship him, had been, regiment after regiment, withdrawn from his command, until the man who had created the Army of the Potomac was left with barely a corporal’s guard, while his veteran soldiers were slaughtered by the reckless ignorance of spurious heroes pushed forward by clamorous politicians. He bore all with the fortitude and resignation of a true patriot; he did not issue vaunting proclamations, and he treated the attacks of his enemies with the silent contempt which they merited. Upon the call of his government he quietly and modestly assumed again the high and fearfully responsible position assigned to him. His advent was hailed by the army, and every true lover of the Union, with hopeful joy. Victory, which seemed to have forsaken us forever, perches again upon our glorious banner, and in less than a fortnight from the day on which he assumed command over a beaten and disorganized army, he drives the hungry hordes of Jefferson Davis from the soil of loyal Maryland, upon which they had fallen like a swarm of devastating locusts.

We have now, at the head of our army, Halleck and McClellan, the two men whom the veteran Scott, the hero of a hundred battles, had designated as his worthy successors. Under their leadership our brave army will march on to victory, but if we mean to bring this terrible war to a speedy end, we must furnish more men to fill up our ranks.

My own conviction is, that in order to crush the rebellion we must have one million of men in the field—one-half to be employed in Virginia to beat and disperse the rebel army, the other half to sweep down the Mississippi with an overwhelming force which would make all further resistance hopeless. The rebel Congress has just called out every able-bodied man in the Confederate States between thirty-five and forty-five years old. They expect, thus, to raise three hundred thousand more men, in addition to the three or four hundred thousand whom they have already under arms. This is their last throw in the fearful game in which they are engaged, and you may depend on it they will play it to the bitter end with the recklessness of despair.

The crisis is at hand which is to decide whether we are ever again to be a free and powerful nation, or whether this most wicked and causeless rebellion shall succeed in destroying our liberties and lowering our country to the level of Mexico and Central America. Shall history record that twenty millions, defending the most sacred cause for which nation ever drew the sword, were overcome by one-third their number who had raised their fratricidal hands against the best of governments ? No, it cannot, it must not be!

Men of Rhode Island, the Republic is in danger! Our free institutions, the memory of the past, the hopes of the future, all call upon you to march forth in your country’s cause. Leave your wives and children trustingly behind— a grateful people will protect and care for them. Do not allow demagogues and fanatics to distract you from the legitimate and holy purpose for which alone this war is to be carried on. Inscribe on your banner that you fight for the “Union as it was, and the Constitution as it is,” and God will bless your arms and give you the victory.

And to you who, like me, are deprived by age or physical incapacity of the privilege of drawing your swords in the defence of our liberties, to you I appeal to contribute your money liberally to the good cause which we have all so much at heart. Many a brave and loyal man is only deterred from joining our army by the fear that in his absence his family might suffer want. I have already, on a former occasion, suggested the raising of funds by subscriptions for the purpose of providing for the families of soldiers in this city. I now again renew my suggestions and my offer to subscribe for such a fund. If carried into effect in a judicious and energetic manner, it will do much toward swelling the ranks of the Union defenders.

New York, August 10, 1862.

My Dear Sir,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your esteemed favor. Its contents bear the stamp of that statesmanship and patriotism which I know to have guided all your actions in the trials which this wicked rebellion has brought upon our once so happy country.

I share entirely your views with regard not only to the duty, but also the policy of the revolted States to return to their allegiance without allowing their unequal struggle against the power of the United States to increase in violence and exasperation, as it necessarily must. Still I think that we might, perhaps, find means to remove the difficulties which the miseries of civil war and the terrorism conjured up by the leaders of the rebellion, have placed in the way of conservative men, who otherwise would most gladly return to the Union.

The words conquest and subjugation have been used to good effect by our opponents. They are words repugnant to the American ear, and while the rebel leaders can keep up to their misguided followers the idea that the North means conquest and subjugation, I fear that there is very little hope for any Union demonstration in the revolted States, however great the dissatisfaction against the Richmond government might be.

My own conviction has always been, that sooner or later we would have to come to a national convention for the reconstruction of one government over all the States. I cannot see by what other means, even after a complete defeat of the rebel armies, a restoration of the Union can be effected.

My impression is, that such a solution would, at the proper time, be acceptable to the majority of the Southern people, and I sent to Mr. Weed the letter which procured me the honor of receiving your note, for the very reason that I saw in it an indication of the writer’s desire for a reconstruction of the Union. He is a very wealthy and influential planter, and I have every reason to believe that a large number of his class share his views.

A few weeks ago, and previous to the receipt of that letter, I had written to Mr. Weed, giving him my candid views on our present situation and the means which I thought the government ought to adopt. I do not know whether he communicated to you my letter, but as you have been kind enough to evince a flattering confidence in the earnestness of my intentions, which must plead for the shortcoming of my judgment, I take the liberty of inclosing you herewith a copy of my letter to Mr. Weed, hoping that you may deem it worthy of your perusal.

The present moment may, perhaps, not be a propitious one for carrying on a negotiation in the manner in which I suggest. As soon, however, as we shall have again a large army in the field, such as we are sure to have under your energetic measures for recruiting, then I hope that vou may find in your wisdom the means of opening negotiations with our misguided fellow-citizens of the South.

They must become convinced that we are fighting only for the Union, and that we cannot, in our own self-defence, as a nation, admit any other solution but the Union. I am certain that ere long reason must prevail over sectional passion, provided that your strong hand will equally crush the Secessionists of the South and the fanatical disorganizer s of the North, who are both equally dangerous to the country and its institutions.

Bellevue Avenue, August 9, 1862.

My Dear Sir,—I regret extremely that being called by pressing engagements to New York, it will not be in my power to comply with your kind invitation to address the mass meeting to be held in Touro Park on Monday next.

It would have been a source of sincere gratification to me to meet my fellow citizens of Newport on this momentous occasion, and to raise my feeble voice in aid of the sacred cause of the Union and the Constitution, for which the President has made so well-timed and earnest an appeal to the patriotism of our people.

The South, misled by the teachings of reckless politicians, has in its mad efforts to destroy our common country, shown an energy and determination worthy of a better cause. Throughout the revolted States every able-bodied man, from the age of 16 to 60, is at this moment in arms against those glorious institutions bequeathed to us by the fathers of the Republic, and which until now had rendered our country the admiration and envy of the civilized world. If we mean successfully to withstand their wicked onslaughts, if we intend to preserve to our children the precious inheritance of Constitutional liberty, if we hope to save from disgrace and defeat the sacred symbol of our greatness and our liberties, that banner which floated victoriously over every battle-field until betrayed and attacked by its own children, then we must at once obey the call of duty, and rush without a moment’s delay to the support of our government.

Whatever may be thought or said by our domestic and foreign foes, in order to exaggerate our losses in the late battles before Richmond, and generally to underrate our gallant army and navy, we can proudly point to numerous victories, and immense advantages which we have gained over the rebels in last year’s campaign. We hold New Orleans and the Mississippi, the very artery of their existence, and the Federal flag has a stronghold in every one of the revolted States. I am firmly convinced that with the additional forces which the government intends to put into the field, and which the people will cheerfully and promptly place at its disposal, we can and will crush the rebellion before the end of the year.

Once the Confederate army conquered and dispersed, and we shall see the South cast loose from their wicked leaders, and returning eagerly to share with us the blessings of that Union to which alone we chiefly owed our former greatness and prosperity.

Rhode Island has ever been foremost in the defence of our national liberties, and I have no doubt your meeting will prove a new incentive to her sons to follow the noble example of their fathers and brothers, who on many a battlefield have sealed with their blood their undying love for their country.

Incapacitated by lameness from bearing arms in the defence of our country, I am still desirous to do my share as a good citizen in the hour of our national trial. I beg to suggest to you that a fund be raised by subscription for the support of the needy families of the soldiers from this city or State. If this proposition meets with the approval of our citizens, I am prepared to give $1,000 to the committee which your meeting may deem proper to appoint for the collection of subscriptions and the judicious distribution of funds. The brave soldier will fight with a better heart when he knows that those whom he has left behind are cared for by those who cannot share his danger and his glory.

Yours, very truly,

(Signed)……………AUGUST BELMONT.

Albany, N. Y.

Newport, R. I., July 20, 1862.

My Dear Mr. Weed,—I have made several attempts to see you during your fleeting visits to New York, but have not been so fortunate as to find you in.

Our national affairs are in a most critical position, more so than they have been at any time since the beginning of this unfortunate war.

What frightens me more than the disasters in the field, is the apathy and distrust which I grieve to say I meet at every step, even from men of standing, and hitherto of undoubted loyalty to the Union.

You know my own feelings and convictions on the subject of our national troubles, and I am sure I can speak to you in all candor, without the fear of having my thoughts misconstrued, though you may, perhaps, not share my views.

My firm conviction is, that any other solution to our present difficulties than a reconstruction of but one government overall the States of our confederacy would entail upon us and our children an inheritance of the most fearful consequences, which would end in the utter disintegration and ruin of the whole country.

There are only two modes by which to prevent such a calamity, which is certainly, at this moment, more threatening than it has ever been before. The one is, by an energetic and unrelenting prosecution of the war to crush the rebellion ; the other would be to negotiate with the leaders of that rebellion (to which it would be madness to withhold the character of a gigantic revolution) and to see whether it may not yet be possible to re-establish a Federal Union.

Both alternatives present difficulties of the gravest nature, and which they did not possess in the same degree at the beginning of the contest.

Our army has been decimated by disease and the casualties of war. I am informed from reliable sources that McClellan has barely seventy thousand men, all told, and Pope’s army, including the corps of McDowell, Sigel, and Banks, is said to number barely forty thousand men. What can we expect to do with such a force against Richmond, which is defended by an enemy having probably double that number under arms, flushed with recent successes, commanded by generals at least equal to ours, directed by one master-spirit, and occupying a central position in a country hostile to us?

It is true the President has called out three hundred thousand men, but it would be a fatal delusion to believe that this number would be sufficient to crush the enemy, even if it were sure that, under the present system of volunteers, the men would come forward.

I think I make a liberal estimate if I put the figure of the Federal armies, all told, at four hundred thousand effective men, and this number will be reduced to at least three hundred thousand before the new levies can be brought into the field.

When we stopped recruiting in the midst of our successes, we dealt a fatal blow to our army, and it is really a wonder to me that our commanding generals consented to submit to such a measure, which crippled them at a time when an overwhelming force became necessary to finish up the good work. It was a policy hardly less suicidal than if we had stopped sending supplies and ammunition to our men in the field. Where we would have found last winter ten men eager to enlist, anxious to share in our trhimphs, we will scarcely now find one, so deep is the gloom and distrust which has taken hold of our people. It would be worse than folly to shut our eyes to this fact. I think ours is the first instance in history where a government shut off supplies of men in the midst of a gigantic war. Look at England. Her enlistments in the Crimean war lasted until the very day of the conclusion of peace.

There is only one way to remedy our fatal error, that is, for the President at once to establish a system of conscription, by which, instead of three hundred thousand, at least five hundred thousand men should be called under arms.

A straightforward proclamation of the President, setting forth the necessities of the case and appealing to the patriotism of the people, will give more confidence than all the ill-concealed attempts at palliating our desperate condition.

Instead of levying new regiments, commanded by inexperienced officers of their own choosing, and who, for a year to come, would barely add any thing to our efficiency in the field, the raw recruits ought to be collected at camps of instruction, in healthy localities, East and West, where, under the direction of West Point graduates, they should be drilled and disciplined.

From thence, as thev are fit for active service, they should be furnished to the army to be incorporated into the old regiments, without reference to States, and only where they are most needed. This is the only way to create for this war an efficient United States army, and will strike a severe blow to that fatal heresy (State sovereignty and State pride) which lies at the bottom of all our misfortunes. Besides, such a mode would be infinitely more economical, and the raw recruits, mixed with our old soldiers, would be, of course, much more reliable and steady under the enemy’s fire than in separate regiments commanded by officers just as inexperienced as themselves.

Simultaneously with these measures, which ought to be taken with the utmost vigor and dispatch, we must infuse more life and energy in our naval department.

The fact is, we have made a great mistake to undertake a war on a gigantic scale by land, where our opponents are, at least, nearly as strong as we are, instead of throwing our best resources and energies upon that mode of warfare where we could have had the enemy at our mercy. Had we, at the very outset of the rebellion, ordered fifty iron gun-boats, even at a cost of one million dollars apiece, we should, before last January, have been in possession of every Southern port. With two hundred thousand men we could have held, by land, the line of the Potomac, Missouri, and Tennessee, and thus hemmed in, we would have brought the South to terms, just as Russia had to sue for peace after the fall of Sebastopol.

I think it is still in our power to accomplish this, though the task has become more difficult since Charleston, Savannah, and Mobile have been so strongly fortified during the last six months. No time, money, and efforts should be spared to build at least twenty more large new iron steamships, with which to take and hold every important city on the rebel coast, from North Carolina to Texas.

If authority for all these measures is not vested in the President, he ought at once to call an extra session of Congress.

I have thus far given you my views of the steps which I consider indispensable, if the sword is to be the arbiter of our future, but is there no other way of saving our country from all the horrors and calamities which even a successful war must entail upon us ?

It may appear almost hopeless to attempt to bring the South back to the Union by negotiation. Men and women alike, in that distracted portion of our country, have become frantic and exasperated by the teachings of unprincipled leaders and the miseries of civil war. Still, I cannot bring myself to the belief that the door to a reconciliation between the two sections is irrevocably and forever shut. The losses and sufferings which have befallen us have been felt tenfold in the revolted States, and the thinking men of the South must see that a continuation of the war must end in the utter destruction of their property and institutions. The frightful carnage of many a battle-field must have convinced each section of the bravery of its opponents, and how much better it would be to have them as friends than foes.

While I am convinced that the President would be willing to see the South in the lawful possession of all its Constitutional rights, I have not lost all hope, that with these rights guaranteed, a re-union of the two sections might be accomplished. In any event, it seems to me that an attempt at negotiation should be made, and that the time for it has not entirely passed away.

If one or two conservative men, who, without holding any official position, possess influence and weight enough with our people and the government to inspire confidence in their statements to the leading men of the South could be found, to proceed under the authority, or at least with the knowledge of the President, to Richmond, in order to open negotiations, I think success might crown their efforts.

It is impossible, and would be presumptuous in me, to point out the conditions of such a compromise, but I think that propositions would prove acceptable to the South which contained in their general outline an amnesty for all political offences during the war, and the calling of a national convention for the purpose of reconstructing the Federal compact, with such modifications in the Constitution as our late sad experience has demonstrated to have become necessary.

The war debts of the North and South might either be borne by each respective section, or better, be funded and assumed bv the general government. The Monroe Doctrine to be strictly and uncompromisingly enforced, which would require and justify a larger standing national armv and navy than heretofore, thus giving us a chance to make provisions for such of their military leaders who, repenting their past errors, are willing again to serve that flag to which, as friends and as foes, they owe all the distinction they have ever achieved.

I know that some of these concessions will be very distasteful to our people—they can be to no one more so than to myself. Every sacrifice must, however, be brought at the altar of our country when we can restore it to peace and prosperity, and with our blood and with our treasure we must also be ready to yield our prejudices, and even our convictions.

I firmly believe that the President would find the hearty support of the vast majority of our people in such a policy, and he ought not to lose any time in carrying out these views. Such men, for instance, as yourself and Governor H. Seymour, would soon be able to find out whether the men who are guiding the destinies of the South could be brought to listen to the dictates of reason and moderation.

Before we enter upon a new phase in this terrible war, which must carry with it horror and misery. far greater than what we have witnessed yet, I cannot but think that patriotism and humanity alike call for an earnest effort toward reconciliation and peace.

If our offers should be rejected, we shall stand justified before God and men, and our good cause will have His blessing and the world’s sympathy.

JULY 4, 1862.

Mr. Grand Sachem And Gentlemen,—I am extremely obliged to you for the high honor you bestow upon me, and the cordiality with which you welcome me home. I am deeply impressed and entirely taken by surprise; however, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I have been absent from my country for the last ten months, compelled to a temporary residence abroad by illness in my family. It was a source of heartfelt regret for me to be away from home, and from my friends in their dark hour of trial. I cannot describe to you the anxiety and sorrow with which I watched the progress of our gallant army and navy, but when I saw from month to month the energy and patriotism of our people rise stronger and higher under every adversity, anxieties were relieved, and my fervent hopes and conviction in the ultimate reconstruction of the Union confirmed.

I come home at a dark and gloomy moment of the struggle in which we are engaged. It seems as if Providence had decreed this momentary reverse of our heroic army in order to admonish us, on this anniversary of our National Independence, that it will require the whole energy of our people if we mean to leave to our children the blessed inheritance bestowed by the fathers of our Republic. We have to deal with an enemy arrayed in relentless strife against our institutions, and the best interests of humanity, and it will require the undivided and gigantic efforts of an united people to save our country and our Union.

There is no sacrifice too great, none which we should not most cheerfully make in order to help the government at this moment. We want more troops, more money, and every thing good and loyal citizens can give to their country in this hour of danger.

Allow me, Mr. Chairman, to conclude by giving the following sentiment:— “Our country, the object of our dearest affections; may she ever find her sons worthy of her, and ready to sacrifice their lives and their treasure in her defence, against domestic traitors or foreign foes.”

Washington, D. C.

London, July 30, 1861.

My Dear Sir,—I arrived here the day before yesterday, and through the kindness of a mutual friend had an interview of an hour’s duration, last evening, with Lord Palmerstbn, in one of the private galleries of the House of Commons. The length to which his lordship allowed our interview to be prolonged, and the many interrogatories which he put to me, are a striking evidence of the deep interest with which the government watches the progress of events in our country.

Lord Palmerston, after asking me a number of questions about our army and navy, the feeling at the North, etc., wanted also to know whether the feeling of anger and irritation manifested by our people against England for her position of neutrality was still as violent as ever when I left.

I told him that there was no feeling of hostility in the United States against England, but that throughout all classes of people at the North we felt deeply mortified and disappointed when the proclamation of the Queen revealed to us the fact that the people of the United States had not to expect any sympathy on the part of the British government in their struggle for national existence against a rebellious slave oligarchy; I dwelt upon the criminality, unjustifiability, and lawlessness of that rebellion, and compared the tone of the English government and press with the expression of heartfelt sympathy which came across the Atlantic, from the whole American people, at the time of the rebellion in India.

His Lordship listened with earnest attention to my remarks, and said that the British government, by its strict neutrality, did not do any more than what we had done when we would not permit them to enlist a few men in the States during the Crimean war. In the course of the conversation he used this phrase, ” We do not like slavery, but we want cotton, and we dislike very much your Morrill tariff.”

I think this phrase comprises the whole policy of this government in the present war, and from what I have seen and heard since mv arrival, I am more than ever convinced that we have nothing to hope from the sympathy of the English government and people in our struggle. Because this war is not carried on for the abolition of slavery in the Southern States, they try to maintain that the war has nothing to do with slavery: wilfully shutting their eyes to the fact that the attitude of the North with regard to introducing slavery into the Territories is the main ground upon which the Secessionists justify their action. As a distinguished lady, wife of a prominent liberal in Parliament, told me last evening: “I am sorry to say, we have been found wanting in the present emergency, and principles have to vield to interest.”

The news of the patriotic action of Congress, by voting large supplies of men and money, and the successes of General McClellan, have evidently startled people a good deal. Lord Palmerston was very minute in his inquiries on all these points. He also asked what it meant that Congress had passed a law closing the Southern ports, and whether this act of Congress was to stand in lieu of the blockade, which was thus to be given up.

I gave him my individual views on this question, stating that I thought this action was only taken in order to give additional force and Constitutionality to the blockade, and to meet objections which might be raised against the government blockading its own ports, and as such the United States considered every port in the seceded States.

He then asked me what was the meaning of the law just passed by Congress, authorizing the appointment of collectors in the Southern ports for receiving custom-duties on board of vessels of war, to be stationed at the entrance of the respective ports—that he could not understand how, on one hand, a port could be blockaded, and on the other hand, ships be allowed to enter upon paying customs, maintaining that this was virtually doing away with the blockade.

I replied that I thought the passage of this act was only intended to be authoritative, but not mandatory, upon the executive, and that Congress wanted to give to the President every possible Constitutional power, in order to be prepared for every emergency. That so far from intending to relinquish the blockade of the seceded ports, no efforts would be spared in order to make it respected and effective.

I mention all these remarks and objections in order to show you how every excuse will be seized by this government in order to break through our blockade, and I know that under the influence of Mr. Mercier’s dispatches to his government, we have nothing better to hope from France. I understand that both governments have written to their ministers at Washington, more than a week ago, that they will not allow French and English vessels to be overhauled on the high seas by our blockading squadron, on account of being suspected of having run the blockade, or carried contraband of war.

Lord Palmerston asked me what our manufacturers and spinners in New England would do for their supply of cotton, and how they were situated at present. I told him that by working short time I thought they would have cotton enough to last them until next spring, and that they were all for a strong, vigorous prosecution of the war, convinced that this was the only way in order to get the required supply by next spring.

He asked me, also, where our government intended to raise the large amounts voted by Congress for the prosecution of the war. I told him that I had no knowledge of the intentions of the Secretary of the Treasury, but I supposed he would negotiate his loans wherever he could make the most advantageous terms, that undoubtedly a large portion, if not the whole, would be taken by our people at home, the stagnation of trade having thrown a good deal of idle capital upon the market. I purposely conveyed the idea that we did not look for the probability of negotiating any large loan in England at present, because, since my arrival, the English papers have talked a good deal about my having come over for the purpose of raising money here.

I shall also shorten my visit here for the present, and intend to leave this evening for Paris and Germany. If I have a chance in Paris to see any of the Emperor’s cabinet, I shall do so, and shall not fail to write to you should any thing of interest come to my knowledge. I hope that by the time this reaches you our troops have been victorious in Virginia—one or two battles now will very soon change the tone and feeling of our English cousins.

Secretary af the Treasury, Washington, D. C.

New York, June 18, 1861.

My Dear Sir,—I have the pleasure of handing you inclosed copies of the decrees of the Emperor Napoleon, and of the report of his Minister of Finance, relative to the last national loan of five hundred millions of francs, issued during the last Crimean war.

You will see, thereby, that the subscription was open in all the departments of France for a fortnight at 92 per cent. for 4½ per cent. stock, and 65 25/100 per cent. for 3 per cent. stock, which was about one to one and three-quarters per cent. lower than the stock was quoted on that day in Paris, say 93 per cent. for the 4½ per cent., and 67 25/100 per cent. for the three per cent. Rentes.

The subscription amounted to two billion one hundred and seventyfive million francs, that is to say, more than four times as much as was required; and the amount required was more than filled up by subscriptions of under five hundred francs, Rentes, say about twelve to fifteen thousand francs capital, so that the large subscribers got nothing.

This loan was issued in the midst of the Crimean war, and nine months only after a similar loan of two hundred and fifty millions, which had been taken in the same proportions. You will also see that a sinking fund is attached to this loan.

If our brave army is, as I trust and hope, victorious in its engagements with the rebels in Virginia, there will be no difficulty in negotiating large amounts of Federal stock here and in Europe.

The elastic-energy of the American people makes them desirous to get quickly through their troubles, and I have no doubt that a vigorous prosecution of the war, and a consequent demand for larger appropriations, will be well received by the people.

My last letter from Paris states : “All uneasiness of hostilities in Europe during the present year appear to have disappeared. Our bank is amply supplied with bullion, and the subscription, which has just closed, to an issue of two hundred and forty million francs railway bonds, has so enormously exceeded the amount as to prove to excess that there is plenty of money here which seeks suitable investments.”

Post image for To Baron JAMES de ROTHSCHILD: “It is stated that your government will allow the Southern privateers to run in for supplies..,”–August Belmont, DNC Chairman.


New York, June 18, 1861.

As far as it lies in my power, I shall continue to give you the most accurate information of the march of events here. I have already expressed to you, repeatedly, my conviction, that unless aided by the moral support of France and England the Southern rebellion has no chance of success, and must be completely overcome.

General Scott is perfectly confident that by next spring he will have conquered a peace. My short visit to Washington, and the interviews which I had there with the different members of the administration, convince me more and more that the government is determined to carry on the war with the utmost vigor. From what Mr. Seward told me, it would seem that France will act jointly with England in its policy during the present war. I regret this for the reasons which I have already given to you.

England has, by her unfriendly position, lost the good-will of our people and government, who both look, more than ever now, to their old ally, France, and to the sympathy of the Emperor.

The time for his mediation may sooner or later come, and great commercial advantages can be secured by France by holding, for the present, at least, aloof.

It is stated that your government will allow the Southern privateers to run in for supplies, and remain with their prizes twenty-four hours in the French ports. This is very much to be regretted, and I hope, still, that the great powers of Europe will accept the adhesion of our government to the declarations of the Congress of Paris annulling privateering. All the maritime powers would then have outlawed that barbarous mode of warfare, and the ports of France would, of course, remain closed to Jeff. Davis’s privateers.

One of them was captured a few days ago by the United States brig Perry, and her crew are now in irons on board the United States steamer Minnesota. They will be tried as pirates, and if not hung, undoubtedly sentenced to hard labor.

The evacuation of Harper’s Ferry, which was, at first, construed into an attempted attack upon Washington, seems to have been forced upon the rebel troops, who were afraid of having their retreat cut off. They will now concentrate at Manassas Junction, hoping, probably, to get General Scott to attack them there, in the strong intrenchments which they have constructed. That veteran hero is, however, too wise to be led into such a mistake. He knows that they are short of provisions, that the place does not give them a sufficient supply of water, and that, consequently, they will soon be obliged to fall back toward Richmond.

In the mean while the divisions under Generals McClellan and Patterson will come down from the West and Northwest and outflank them, unless they retreat. General Scott is confident of being in Richmond by the end of July.

During my short visit to Washington I saw a good many of our officers and soldiers. The most excellent spirit pervades our whole army. Our troops in Virginia behave with exemplary order, and are gaining the good-will of the inhabitants by the respect they show for all public and private property. Their conduct stands in beautiful contrast with that of the secession troops, who have destroyed about two million dollars’ worth of property around Harper’s Ferry, and who compel the Virginia farmers to sell them provisions against valueless paper of the Confederacy. This state of things ought soon to produce a healthy reaction in the sentiments of the Virginia people.

The election for Members of Congress in Maryland has resulted in the defeat of the whole secession ticket by handsome majorities, yet that State was claimed as hostile to the Union.