Mr. Clay to Mr. Seward.

No. 3, official.]

Sir: By appointment on Saturday last I called upon Prince Gortchacow, the vice-chancellor, and delivered the office copy of my letters of credence. The foreign minister received me with his usual cordiality, and promised to ask for me an early presentation to the Emperor, saying their Imperial Majesties would be happy in seeing me back again. We had much pleasant and familiar conversation, personal and political, which I omit, and he concluded by saying we should find no difficulty in getting along well together.

To-day I was presented, with the usual formalities, to his Imperial Majesty at the winter palace. He gave me a cordial welcome back to his court, and after expressing my thanks I addressed him in these words:

“Sire, I again present you my letters of credence from the President of the United States of America. The people of the Union, blessed by Deity with extraordinary physical resources, are by their highest economical interests, as well as by progressive sentiments, in favor of peace with all the world, and especially with your Imperial Majesty’s government, which is bound to us by so many ties of ancient friendship and common welfare. The more intimate relations which steam, the press, and the telegraph have introduced among the nations heighten the natural interests and increase the conventional claims which each has upon the other for mutual comity, protection, and the advance of civilization. Whilst the people of the United States cannot, in consequence of these facts, be indifferent to passing events in other nationalities, they are aware that a cautious reserve as to uncalled-for intervention in the internal organizations of the several peoples is demanded for the peace of the world.

“The President and Senate, in selecting me, whose opinions and sympathies are well known, again to represent them at your imperial court, give to your Imperial Majesty and to the world assurance that they have the most implicit confidence that your government will so discharge its duties to its own people[Page 867]and to the general rights of mankind as to increase that glory which your Imperial Majesty’s character and administration have made historical. I beg your Imperial Majesty to accept renewed assurances of the sincerity with which I shall personally endeavor to realize the desires of my country, and of my aspirations for the happiness and safety of your Imperial Majesty and of your imperial house.”

To which the Emperor replied in French, in substance, as follows:

That he trusted that I bore in memory the friendly expressions which he had on former occasions used in regard to the United States; that he entertained the same sentiments now, and that nothing would be wanting on his part to make permanent the amicable relations of the past. He then expressed himself gratified at my return, and hoped I would find a pleasant sojourn at his court. Having concluded these more formal sentences, his Majesty entered into a familiar conversation with me, asked about the condition of the republic, our foreign relations, and personal matters, which I forbear to report.

I have asked an audience of his Imperial Majesty and the Grand Duke Heriter, and as his Imperial Majesty talked of retiring to his country seat Tzars-thoselo in a few days, I shall probably be received by them there.

* * * * * * * *

I am, very truly, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.