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United States Department of State / Papers relating to foreign affairs, accompanying the annual message of the president to the second session thirty-eighth congress

Belgium,   pp. 226-266 PDF (15.5 MB)

Page 234

bonds of friendship between the two countries, and, on my Bide, I shall be
to contribute to them so far as lies in my power, being moreoyer convinced,
the commencement of an experiment of this year, that my countrymen may 
without apprehension take a place in the art exhibitions of Belgium. 
I have the honor to be, &c., 
Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward. 
No. 176.]                       LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, 
Brussels, "January 7, 1864. 
SIR: The usual official reception by the King on the 1st of January, which.
for the past two years had been suspended on account of his sickness, did
take place this year, and, owing to slight indisposition, the King did not
at the ball given at-the palace yesterday. I have nothikag, therefore, to
in this connexion. 
Since my last despatch the house of representatives, after annulling the
tion at Bruges and, providing for the levying of taxes for the coming year,
journed over the holidays. Since coming together again on the 5th instant
has been occupied with the discussion of the "projet" of address
in reply to 
the discourse of the King on opening the legislative session. The debates
characterized by a good deal of acrimony. The political divisions of the
seem to become more and more sharply marked, and party spirit, as this diverg-
ence increases, to become more enyenomed. 
The new elections at Bruges take place on the 12th; should, as it is possible,
the conservative party carry them, the cabinet will be left in a majority
of two, 
willhardly be able to carry on the government, and will probably resign.
The conservative party, as such, could not form a cabinet capable of sustain-
ing itself. Under these circumstances, andin the event of the resignation
those now in power, a "business" cabinet would probably be formed,
if a cer- 
tain number of the liberal party could be found to support it, (which, with
present bitterness of feeling between the parties, I think not very likely,)
Parliament would be dissolved and recourse had to new elections. 
The message of the President has been very favorably received by the press
and the public generally. The evidences of strength, public confidence, credit,
and a resolution to put down, at any cost, the rebellion, which the message
accompanying documents furnish, seem to shake the faith of those heretofore
the most incredulous as to the ultimate restoration of the authority of the
ernment over the whole territory of the United States. 
The change in public sentiment within the past five weeks with regard to
war, and its final result, has been as satisfactory as it has been great.
cause of the rebellion seems to be considered as hopeless, even by that cla~s
whose interests or whose instincts have caused them to sympathize with it;
and to the reproach which remained of seeking the subjugation or extermina-
tion of those in arms against the government, has come, very opportunely
reply, the proclamation of the President. I regret not to have had the oppor-
tunity, on the new year, to have learned the views of the King on this subject.
You will remember the hope expressed to me by his Majesty, in conversation
the past summer, that the occasion would be afforded to the people in rebellion
to come back to their allegiance through concessions which should give them
a means of return short of compulsion at the point of the sword or humiliating
exactions. I count upon having an opportunity of conversation with his 
Majesty on this subject at an early day. 
I have the honor to be, with great respect, yonr most obedient servant, 
Hon01. WILLIAM H . SEWARD, Secretary of State, 4-c., 4-c., 4-c. 

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