Mr. Pike to Mr. Seward
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your despatches of the 22d and 27th of November, Nos. 259 and 260.
The close of the year finds political affairs in Europe in a state of repose.
The special afflictions which are the common lot of states as of individuals seem not to be above, but rather below, the average of the times of peace. In many countries it is the financial question that disturbs more than any other.
The same embarrassment burdens the back of the Pope.
But the present and probable future continuance of the extraordinary gold product of our times, it is believed, will settle all questions of this character favorably here in Europe, as well as elsewhere, with the exercise of a very moderate amount of wisdom.
But the financial condition of this country, of Great Britain, of Prussia, of Belgium, and of the small German states, is so flourishing as to need no unusual restoratives. In nearly all these, a full equilibrium between revenue and expenditure is established on the basis of a moderate taxation.
Even England and Holland can scarcely be considered exceptions.
No great political dangers seem to menace any state, unless it be Spain, whose conduct in transatlantic waters invites retribution.
Poland is subdued, the duchies are swallowed, the Fenians are in jail, Maximilian is expected home, the house of Augustenburg is relaying its foundation in England. * * * * * *
Austria set a useful example to other disturbed nationalities by an attempt to consolidate her empire by ideas, instead of the old method of force.
The cotton culture, the growth of our war, has enriched Egypt, and advanced Turkey, and even given an impulse to Islamism, which, under it, may again spread itself into surrounding portions of Europe, afflicted by systems yet more effete than its own.[Page 461]
Political discontent seems nowhere rife, for revolutionists can get to America in fifteen days for as many specie dollars, and the republic was never in higher favor than now.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.