Mr. Judd to Mr. Seward.

No. 58.]

Sir:The threatened invasion of the Danish province of Jutland, mentioned in my last despatch, has taken place, and the result was the occupation of the village of Kolding, immediately on the boundary line. Report says that a part of the village is in Schleswig. The advance was made by the Prussian troops. As soon as knowledge of it reached Austria the proceeding was objected to. The utterances of the other great powers, moreover, were so significant that no further advance was made. No other military event of any importance has occurred.

The ministerial conference of some of the smaller German powers which assembled at Wurzburg separated without any decided action, saving their evident disagreement or fear under some general resolve to stand by each other and the authority of the Diet against any aggressions by the great powers. The truth is, Prussia and Austria control the Diet. They usually carry with them enough of the smaller states to accomplish what they may desire. If the majority of the Diet ever place themselves upon the record against the wishes of the two great powers, it is sure to be upon a question that in solution will not cause serious disagreement.

England, with the consent of France and Russia, proposed to the allied powers a conference with a view to a settlement of the question, and pending the proceedings an armistice should be established. The allied powers assented to that part of the proposition involving a conference, but refused to entertain so much of it as demanded an armistice. To this modification the other powers assented, and it only remains for Denmark to agree to it, and thus remit the Danish Schleswig-Holstein question again to its historical and traditional position, viz., the hands of diplomats. Denmark will be compelled to join in that conference. It cannot resist the combined will of the five great powers. What terms will proceed from that conference can only be judged of in a degree from the position already taken by some of these powers. England had made desperate efforts to have Denmark withdraw the constitution, the effect of which was to consolidate the duchies into the kingdom of Denmark as an integral part. The King of Prussia has declared that he will not sheathe the sword until the duchies are united under a separate administration. Austria does not desire to separate them from Denmark and allow the Prince of Augustenburg to be established as duke. From present appearances, the conference will find the duchies completely Germanized in its interior administration, as the evidences of Danish rule are being set aside as rapidly as possible. The Danish language in official and legal proceedings, and in church and school, has been supplanted by the German, and Danish officials go into retirement with their language. An old law of the duchies, requiring two years’ study at the University of Kiel as a qualification of such official positions as involve a collegiate education, has been revived, which act alone vacates all the leading and important offices.

These proceedings will have been finished before the conference is ended, and to all intents and purposes the duchies will be an independent state, except on the sole question of who shall be the executive head. The allied powers are opposed to the pretence of the Prince of Augustenburg, and my conviction is that the Danish king will have rule over the duchies, but he will not be allowed to undo what has been accomplished by the occupation of Holstein and the invasion of Schleswig. While his personal position will thus be preserved, it will not add to the power of the kingdom of Denmark. A quasi independent sovereignty annexed to the kingdom through a disputed succession, foreign in its language and laws, hostile from a feeling of wrong and oppression hereto-fore [Page 207] suffered, and conscious that the German nation is its protector, it will be a constant source of strife and conflict and weakness to Denmark. The duchies will be in the kingdom, but not of it.

Through the official papers of Copenhagen the Danish regulations for the blockade of the German ports have been given to the public “in extenso.” I beg leave to annex them as published in the German press. According to these regulations a provisional embargo is to be laid, until the first of April, upon all ships carrying an enemy’s flag anchored in the ports or bays of Denmark. After that date such ships may be withdrawn with safe conducts to non-blockaded ports, upon condition that the states to which they belong will exercise reciprocity. As regards the blockade itself it is said: “The blockade is to be held to have commenced when one or several vessels blockade a port in such a manner that merchantmen can neither enter nor issue without running evident risk of capture. Commandants of ships charged with the blockade are immediately to summon neutral vessels anchored in hostile ports to state when they will leave the blockaded port.”

For the present, the blockade of the Holstein and Schleswig ports alone is decreed; but it is intimated that the blockade of all German ports in the Baltic and North sea is soon to follow.

The Paris declaration on the subject of privateering, &c., will, in general, be observed by Denmark.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


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