The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Hamilton Fish, September 10th, 1870


St. Louis, Sept. 10, 1870.

Your kind note of the 5th inst. has reached me and I thank you sincerely for it. It seems you have misapprehended a little what I said of Mr. Matill [?]. The idea was not to send him into Canada, but to employ him in the State Department and to make it one of his duties to carry on the confidential correspondence with parties in Canada under your direction. He informs me that he has written a mémoire on the subject which he should be glad to submit to you. Will you be kind enough to permit him to present himself to you at the Department? You will find in him a very able, substantial and useful man who might be employed to advantage.

The telegraph informs us that the President has signified to the Prussian Government his willingness to serve as a mediator between the belligerents in Europe. Judging from the tone of the German press and all the indications which float on the surface, there seems to be but little probability that the offer will be accepted. I am glad you disclaimed at the same time any intention on the part of the United States, to take part in any combination of neutral Powers for the purpose of bringing about a settlement of the conflict. From a purely American point of view I think it will be the best policy for us to let the denouement of that war take care of itself. As to giving an expression to our moral sympathy with the Republic as such—and in France it exists only in name—Mr. Washburne has devoted himself to that in his own way. I fear he has created hopes which will be doomed to disappointment; the men who have undertaken to revive the traditions of 1792—an impossible task under existing circumstances—will be apt to catch at straws and then abuse other people for leaving them in the lurch, because the straws are not timbers.

One thing is settled now: Germany is destined to be the great power of Europe, and it will be a very substantial one. There are no humbugs and shams about it. It is all solid and real from top to bottom. And in spite of its monarchical form of government it will also turn out to be the most progressive power, steadily progressive. And this Germany and the United States together will have to make the international law of the world. I expressed that opinion in public long before Sadowa, and now it must be apparent to every one who knows the two countries. They will find their interests to agree in all essential points, and before long they will, without preconcert, meet in the pursuit of common objects, especially as far as the regulation of the trade of the world is concerned. We ought to keep this prospect in view in all our diplomatic doings.

Will you be in Washington during the latter part of this month? I may have to visit the capital on domestic business and should be very happy to have a good talk with you on a variety of subjects.

[P.S., Sept. 11th.] As to our bolt in Missouri, I send you our manifesto. It was a necessary thing.