Mr. Seward to Mr. Motley

No. 169.]

Sir: I have your despatch of the 27th of February, No. 150, by which we learn that efforts are now made to induce the Austrian government to consent that 4,000 volunteers may be levied within that empire this year for Mexico, on the ground that the supplementary article of the convention of Miramar permitted 2,000 each year, and that none were forwarded in the year 1865.

Upon this statement of facts you express the opinion that the consent desired will probably be accorded by the imperial government, so that if the funds can be obtained for paying, equipping, and transporting 4,000 officers and volunteers, they will be found, and may be expected in Mexico this year. At the same time you state that it is your opinion that the funds have not yet been furnished.

The case thus presented renders it proper that I should call your especial attention to my despatch No. 167, which bears the date of, and is sent forward, this day.

In preparing that despatch I anticipated the case substantially which your communication now presents. You cannot, while practicing the courtesy and respect which are due to the Austrian government, be either too earnest or too emphatic in the protest you have been directed to make.

In performing this duty, you may be assisted by information of the actual state of the question concerning French intervention in Mexico at the present moment. With this view, I give you, confidentially, a copy of my note addressed to the Marquis de Montholon on the 12th day of February last. As yet, no reply has been received to this note, nor have its contents become public. You will, therefore, see the propriety of being discreet in such use of it as you may find it necessary to make.

After reading that paper you will be justified in saying that the American [Page 832] government and people would not be likely to be pleased with seeing Austria at this juncture assume the character of a protector to the foreign military power which, claiming the form of an empire, is attempted to be set up upon the supposed subverted foundations of the republic of Mexico.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


J. Lothrop Motley, Esq., &c., &c., Vienna.