Mr. Bigelow to Mr. Seward

No. 261.]

Sir: Recalling my despatch No. 241, enclosing a communication made by me to M. Guizot and the Duke de Broglie, with the President’s proclamation announcing the abolition of slavery in the United States, I have the honor to enclose a copy and translation of a reply to a similar communication, made to me by M. Laboulaye, the active president of the French Committee of Emancipation, of which the other gentlemen were honorary presidents.

I am, sir, with great respect, your very obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.


Mr. Ambassador: The members of the French Emancipation Society have received, with emotion and sympathy, the proclamation announcing the abolition of slavery, which you instructed me to communicate to them.

In a numerous meeting assembled to consider the future fate of the freedmen of your country I read your letter. It transformed our gathering, in a measure, into a thanksgiving festival.

This century has witnessed the abolition of serfdom in Russia, and of slavery in the United States. That is glory enough for it.

We entertain the hope that the illustrious successor of Lincoln and the statesmen and Christians of America will know how to make citizens of those of whom they have made freemen. The civilized world expects from them the success of this grand experiment.

We shall watch the steps of its progress with the most untiring interest; and we beg you to thank the President of the United States, in the name of our committee, for the measures which he has heretofore taken, and for the noble instrument to which his name shall remain attached, as we thank you also, Mr. Ambassador, for having communicated it to us.

Please accept the expression of our high consideration.

The president of the committee:


The secretary:

A. Cochin, Member of the French Institute.