Mr. Seward to Mr. Hale

No. 13.]

Sir: Your despatch of August 26, No. 41, has been received. It announces that nine hundred negroes from the upper country of Egypt, within the jurisdiction of the Pacha, are expected shortly to arrive at Alexandria, to be embarked in French transports for Mexico, to relieve the contingent which was sent out in January, 1863. The latter proceeding, as you are aware, excited much comment at the time; but it passed unnoticed by this government, which was then seriously occupied with a peculiar condition of merely domestic affairs, and with the foreign embarrassments which grew out of that condition. Since then the United States have abolished slavery. The attention of Congress, as well as that of the executive department and of the country, has been very steadily fixed upon the course of events in Mexico, which, I need not say, form a subject of serious concern with regard to the safety of the free republican institutions of this country, an object with which we are accustomed to connect the desired ultimate consequence of the abolition of every form of compulsory civil or military servitude in this hemisphere.

You are instructed to bring this matter to the attention of the Pacha’s minister for foreign affairs, and to state to him that, in the opinion of this government, the renewal of the transaction alluded to could not be regarded with favor, or even without deep anxiety, by the people of the United States. It will be proper for you to inform the minister that I have written upon the subject, in the same sense herein adopted, to the diplomatic agents of the United States residing respectively at Paris and Constantinople.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Charles Hale, Esq., &c., &c., Alexandria.