Green's letter dated January 24, 1842 reads in part:1
I was introduced to Baron Rothschild by General Cass (U.S. ambassador to France), at a diplomatic dinner, and speaking of the question which now absorbs all circles, the probability of war between England and America, he said to me, "But how can you go to war? you can get no money. I received a letter, to-day, from my correspondent in London, inquiring to know whether the United States would borrow money on the continent, and my reply was, not a dollar." He proceeded to say to me, "You may tell your government that you have seen the man who is at the head of the finances of Europe, and that he has told you that they cannot borrow a dollar, not a dollar."I then explained that there had been a systematic effort, on the part of England, to depreciate the credit of the United States ; that her purpose was to compel those continental powers of Europe, as well as the United States, who are engaged in rival manufactures, to depend on her East India colonies for the raw material ; and, therefore, the war with us would be a war on the manufacturing states of Europe ; that we had within ourselves all the elements of war, that we had six hundred steamboats on a single river, and that, so far from having anything to fear from England, we did not fear to go to war with England, with Europe at her back ; but that Europe would have a common interest with us, that by the use of ex-chequer bills, convertible into six per cents., we could command men, ships, and munitions. He said, "Yes, you may get men and ships, but such is the character of your state debts, that the United States cannot borrow a single dollar in Europe." This was before dinner. After the dinner was over, he came to me, and urged me to come and see him, and converse with him on this subject. He said, "You may be able to go to war, but you must get the means at home."
I have, since I came here, satisfied myself that under the pressure of the public debt, England finds it impossible to maintain her commercial and manufacturing superiority, because she cannot raise cotton, sugar, etc., as cheap in India as it can be raised in the United States, Cuba, and Brazil, and that her war on slavery and the slave-trade is intended to increase the cost of producing the raw material in the United States, Brazil, and Cuba, that she can sell to other rival manufacturing, continental powers, the product of her East India possessions cheaper than they can purchase from us. If she can do this, having the power to compel her East India subjects to purchase her manufactures, and hers alone, she can, through her manufactures, command the supply of raw material, and thus compel rival manufacturing nations to pay her tribute, while she, in a great measure, controls the manufacture itself. This is part of her policy. Do we not see one fourth of her iron manufactories now idle ? and why ? because she says the supply exceeds the demand ; and, do you not believe that, if it comes to a question of whether her spinning jennies, or those of continental Europe, or of the United States, shall stand idle, she will hesitate as to which is to be employed ? or that, having the command of the raw material, she will fail as to means to accomplish her purpose.
Under the aspects of the case, you will find that England has much more than a work of benevolence in the suppression of the slave-trade.
Green's other mention of the meeting with Rothchild reads as follows:2
A few days after I reached Paris, I was invited to a diplomatic dinner, by Gen. Cass, who introduced me to Baron Rothschild, saying that I was just from the United States, and could give more information about American securities than any person then in Europe. "Ah," said Rothschild, rising from his seat, "what can you say about your country ?" I replied, " What about my country ?" I said, "About paying your debts—” paying your debts, sir. My London correspondent writes to me to-day asking whether you can borrow any money on the continent, and my reply is not a dollar, sir, not a dollar." "Ah," said I, "if you suppose that we are like the kings of Europe, compelled to come to you to ask permission to go to war, you are under a great mistake, sir : a very great mistake." "How so ?" said he. I replied : "No one knows better than you do, the value of credit ; you know that we have paid our national debt. You know that we have all the elements of war within our own control, and that having the power of taxation, we can command the requisite resources, with our treasury notes. We have no wish to go to war, and do not intend to make war, but we have more than three millions of freemen, whose privilege it is to fight in defence of their country, in case we are invaded ; and more than that, sir, we can, in a very short time, create a fleet of steamships which would drive back the whole piratical fleets of Europe, if you dare send them with your money, to invade us. You greatly mistake, if you suppose that we want your money to enable us to defend our country." "Ah," said he, " will you come and see me ? I would like to talk with you."