Mr. Motley to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 178, of date 23d April, relative to German affairs.
Referring to my No. 172, of date of 9th May, I have to state that the vote taken on that day in the Diet at Frankfort resulted in a majority of ten to five for the motion made by Saxony.
The next step will probably be a declaration by the Bund that Prussia is guilty of a breach of the Bund, (Bundesbruchig,) and a decree to enforce article XI against her. This would naturally be followed by the occupation of Saxony by the troops of the confederation unless Prussia herself should anticipate that movement. In either case it would be the beginning of war.
The accounts thus far in regard to the position of Hanover are conflicting. At the above mentioned session of the Diet she voted with the majority against Prussia. This is supposed to have somewhat surprised and offended that power. Prussia, in consequence, addressed to Hanover a summons of a threatening nature. Since then a statement needing confirmation has appeared that a treaty between Hanover and Prussia has been made by which Hanover receives a guarantee of her territory and promises assistance to Prussia in the coming war, or at least neutrality.
A glance at the map of Germany shows the great importance of Hanover by reason of its geographical situation.
Mecklenburg, Electoral Hesse and the Hanse Towns voted with the minority on the 9th.
So far as concerns the German part of the impending struggle, much depends oh the attitude of the southwestern powers, Wurtemberg, Baden, and Bavaria.
I think that Austria relies with confidence on their support. They will, no doubt, faithfully aid in carrying out the decrees of the Bund, so long as it can be said to exist. But should Prussia in formal terms declare the Bund as no longer existing, it would seem possible that the southwestern States might content themselves with a position of armed neutrality in a war between Austria and Prussia.
I ascribe no very great importance to the suggestions of a congress and other forms of pacific intervention.
I suppose that the chief reason why hostilities have not begun is that the military preparations are not fully made.
Only those who have access to the military councils can tell how soon the war will open.
For some days placards have been posted in the streets of Vienna, signed by Prince Colloredo, stadtholder of Lower Austria, and Dr. Zelinka, the burgomaster of Vienna, calling for volunteers. The call is also published in the official gazette. It is also officially announced that the government of Austria will adhere to the declarations of the congress of Paris of 1856 and abstain [Page 664] from seizing merchant vessels of the enemy and their cargoes at sea as good prize, in case of reciprocity on the part of the enemy.
This provision, however, has no relation to merchant men carrying contraband of war, or endeavoring to break a lawful blockade.
I have the honor to remain, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.