Mr. Koerner to Mr. Seward

No. 2.]

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.

* * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * *

I have the honor to be, sir, yours, very respectfully,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c.

Copy of Mr. Koerner’s speech to the Queen.

Madam: I have the honor to present to your Majesty the letter of the President of the United States of America, accrediting me as minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary near your Majesty’s government. I act but in accordance with explicit instructions from the President, in renewing to your Majesty the expression of the most friendly feelings which the President as well as the people of the United States entertain towards your Majesty and the Spanish nation, and which my predecessor at no very remote period has had the honor to communicate to your Majesty.

Since the time alluded to, nothing has happened, with the knowledge or consent of the United States, to weaken the amicable relations so happily existing between the two governments. The President has, on the contrary, noticed with great satisfaction the loyal and highly honorable bearing of your Majesty’s government towards the United States at a time, and under circumstances, which necessarily present many embarrassing complications.

Feeling myself a lively interest in all that concerns the government and nation of Spain, and sincerely rejoicing at its manifestly great and onward progress, and its rapidly increasing prosperity, it may be proper for me to say that the duty that has devolved upon me to maintain the mutual friendship between the two governments and nations, affords me personally very great pleasure.

Permit me to offer my most cordial wishes for the health of your Majesty, and of her royal family, and for the welfare and prosperity of the Spanish nation.

[Page 965]

Queen’s speech to Mr. Koerner.

[Translated from the official copy.]

Señor Minister: I have heard with the liveliest pleasure the expression of the sentiments of friendship which animate the President and people of the United States with respect to me and the Spanish nation.

It is especially pleasing to me that your government has appreciated the noble and loyal conduct of mine, whose acts have been directed always to maintaining the most perfect good understanding between both; and without fixing our attention on the grave circumstances which have occurred, except only to lament those evils whose termination we desire.

I do not doubt that you will contribute to the preservation of the good relations which exist between the two governments, and you may be sure that you will encounter in mine the best and kindest dispositions towards everything which may conduce to so important a result.

I highly esteem your felicitation for the prosperity which Spain enjoys, and thank you for the good wishes you express for her welfare, and for my happiness and that of my family.

It is a motive of regret for me that the news of two important events on the coast of the island of Cuba should have arrived, to disturb the satisfaction of your felicitation. But the terms in which you have expressed the sentiments of the President of the United States fill me with confidence that he will do whatever the honor and rights of Spain demand, so that the relations which unite the two governments may not be altered because of these events.