Mr. Koerner to Mr. Seward
Sir: In my last despatch, No. 1, I had the honor to inform you of the cause which was delaying ray reception. The Queen did not return with the ministers and court before the evening of the 29th of October, from her tour to the southern provinces.
On the 30th of October Mr. Calderon Collantes, minister of foreign affairs, appointed an interview for the next day.
Accompanied by Mr. Perry, our chargé d’affaires, I called upon Mr. Calderon at the appointed hour. After some introductory remarks, he informed me that owing to the fatigue of the Queen, and the fact that to-morrow (November 1) was a great holiday, (All Saints,) and the day after a Sunday, I could not very well be received until the commencement of the next week. He very soon turned the conversation upon American affairs by remarking, with apparently very great satisfaction, that the late news from the United States was very good, alluding to the victories at Corinth, Perryville, &c., the accounts of which are just now circulating in the European papers. He added the observation that the continuance of the war was very much to be regretted; to which I assented, remarking at the same time that it would not terminate before the rebellion was totally suppressed. I took occasion to say, that all great nations of Europe had had their trials of civil wars, and often of very prolonged ones. This Mr. Collantes admitted very readily, instancing his own country, which, he said, had been engaged since the commencement of this century in a war, repelling invasion, and in civil wars for nearly fifty years. I remarked that our own war was not carried on for conquest, or even to attest merely our authority, but to save our national existence; that the suppression of the rebellion was a question of life or death. This Mr. Calderon conceded, saying, more than once, that he considered our existence as a nation involved in the struggle.
The conversation then turned on the recent journey of the Queen, which I ventured to pronounce a very decided success, which remark seemed to please him much.
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He alluded in very flattering terms to Mr. Schurz, my predecessor, saying that he had been a very excellent representative of the United States. On taking my leave, he begged me to inform the President that the government had none but the most friendly feelings for him and the United States, for which sentiment I expressed to him my acknowledgment, and assured him that it was duly reciprocated. Mr. Calderon not understanding any English, the conversation was conducted in French.
The day after my first interview with Mr. Calderon Collantes, he sent me a note informing me that the Queen had appointed Tuesday evening, November 4, for an audience of reception.
In the mean time Mr. Perry had informed me that Mr. Calderon had expressed himself very well pleased with the tenor of the remarks which I was to address to the Queen, and of which he had been furnished a copy in Spanish, and that [Page 964] the Queen’s reply (of which I had desired to see a copy before I was presented) would he very gracious.
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My reception took place in the palace. The Queen appeared to he very courteous. After her reply, I took occasion to deliver the two congratulatory letters of the President, relating to the birth of the Queen’s daughter, and the son of her sister, the Duchess of Montpensier, accompanying the delivery with some remarks. I then presented to the Queen Mr. Daniel C. Payne, our attaché, whose presentation had by some circumstance or another been hitherto delayed. I was immediately afterwards introduced to the King, who appeared very courteous indeed.
After these presentations were over, I attended the general reception of the diplomatic corps, which had expressed a desire to see the Queen, and to congratulate her on her happy return, and the general success of the journey.
On this occasion an opportunity was afforded me to be introduced to most of the members of the diplomatic corps, and also to some distinguished members of the royal household.
In establishing my relations with the court, and also with the diplomatists of foreign nations, Mr. Perry rendered me the most eminent services. His perfect knowledge of the language and the manners of the people here, his extended acquaintance with diplomatic forms, as also the very great esteem in which he is held here by the court, the ministers, the diplomatic corps, and society in general, make him a most valuable officer, whose services could never be dispensed with without great detriment to our country in its relations with this government.
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I have the honor to be, sir, yours, very respectfully,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c.