Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward .
Brussels, May 10, 1861.
Sir: * * * * * * * *
I was received by the King, to present my letter of credence, on the 8th, in “solemn audience,” and made on the occasion an address, of which I enclose a copy, (A.)
The King replied that he highly appreciated the sentiments of friendly feeling, of which I bore to him the expression, from the President, and the flattering terms, as he expressed it, in which they were couched. He desired me to tender to the President his thanks for them, and to say that he reciprocated fully the desire for the continuance of the friendly and cordial relations which, during the more than thirty years that had elapsed since the formation of his government, had marked our intercourse, and he hoped for the continued prosperity of the United States. After some remarks complimentary to myself and my former residence in Europe, he entered into general conversation, in which he showed great interest in and knowledge of the United States, manifesting a warm desire to have the means of direct intercourse increased between the two countries. The genius of his people, he said, was rather for industrial pursuits at home, and in which they had been very successful; but they had failed upon the seas; and he thought if the enterprise and practical knowledge of our people could be brought to bear in favor of steam communication between Belgium and the United States, a large trade could be diverted through this channel, Antwerp being a natural entrepôt for Central Europe.
His Majesty spoke but generally of the insurrection in the southern States; said he hoped that some peaceful issue would be found, and that the spirit of conciliation would prevail, and then referred to the growing markets they had for their manufactures in the United States. My audience, which was lengthened by a long conversation on general subjects, was most satisfactory, in the very kind and cordial spirit manifested by his Majesty.
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I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State.