DEPARTMENT OF STATE, April 22, 1861.
His Excellency Thos. H. Hicks, Governor of Maryland.
SIR: I have had the honor to receive your communication of this morning, in which you inform me that yon have felt it to be your duty to advise the President of the United States to order elsewhere the troops then off Annapolis, and also that no more may be sent through Maryland; and that you have further suggested that Lord LYONS be requested to act as mediator between the contending parties in our country, to prevent the effusion of blood.
The President directs me to acknowledge the receipt of that communication, and to assure you that he has weighed the counsels which it contains with the respect which he habitually cherishes for the Chief Magistrates of the several States, and especially for yourself. He regrets, as deeply as any magistrate or citizen of the country can, that demonstrations against the safety of the United States, with very extensive preparations for the effusion of blood, have made it his duty to call out the force to which yon allude.
The force now sought to be brought through Maryland is intended for nothing but the defence of this Capital. The President has necessarily confided the choice of the national highway which that force shall take in coming to this city, to the Lieutenant General commanding the Army of the United States, who, like his only predecessor, is not less distinguished for his humanity, than for his loyalty, patriotism, and distinguished public service.
The President instructs me to add that the national highway thus selected by the Lieutenant General has been chosen by him, upon consultation with prominent magistrates and citizens of Maryland, as the one which, while a route is absolutely necessary, is furthest removed from the populous cities of the State, and with the expectation that it would, therefore, be the least objectionable one.
The President cannot but remember that there has been a time in the history of our country when a General of the American Union, with forces designed for the defence of its Capital, was not unwelcome anywhere in the State of Maryland, and certainly not at Annapolis, then, as now, the Capital of that patriotic State, and then, also, one of the Capitals of the Union.
If eighty years could have obliterated all the other noble sentiments of that age in Maryland, the President would be hopeful, nevertheless, that there is one that would forever remain there and everywhere. That sentiment is that no domestic contention whatever, that may arise among the parties of this Republic, ought in any case to be referred to any foreign arbitrament, least of all to the arbitrament of an European monarchy.
I have the honor to be, with distinguished consideration, your Excellency's most obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.