Mr. Koerner to Mr. Seward.

No. 83]

Sir: I had the honor of addressing you in my despatch, No. 79, of the 5th instant, upon the seizure of the British steamer Princess at Malaga. I did believe at the time that the Princess was a confederate boat, and had taken measures accordingly. A few days after sending my despatch, Sir John Crampton paid me a visit and laid before me photographic copies of two letters, directed to Captain Sinclair, of the Princess, which he had just obtained from the British consul at Malaga, and which seem to place the matter in a different light. The first is a note without signature, dated Paris, and on which is imprinted the national seal of Poland. It informs Captain Sinclair that Prince C. has taken proper steps to release him and the boat; that Count Wohl had left with good letters of recommendation, for Madrid, and that the captain would soon hear from the count. I may remark here that C. stands, in all probability, for Czartorisky, Prince Wladislaew Czartorisky being president of the Polish National Committee at Paris. The second letter is one written from a hotel in Madrid by said Count Wohl, informing the captain of his arrival, and enclosing to him for present purposes two hundred dollars.

It would appear, therefore, that the Princess was fitted out in the interest of the Polish revolution. The object is still a matter of some mystery; I cannot well imagine it, and to me the plan of operating against Austria or Russia by sea appears to be a very wild one. Yet the present state of Europe offers such a labyrinth of complications that even the most fantastic schemes may carry with them probabilities of success.

In order to find out, if possible, what steps have been taken by this Count Wohl here in Madrid in respect to the boat and crew, and to make myself still more certain of the true character of the persons interested in the enterprise, I had an interview with the minister of state, Señor Pacheco. He said he had no knowledge of any agent having arrived here. No one had approached him on the subject. It was a matter, however, which belonged to the minister of finance. He thought, from what he had heard, that the Princess was chartered on Polish account. The Russian minister had been to see him about it. The cargo, he thought, and perhaps the boat too, would be confiscated.

I have, however, still advised our vice-consul at Malaga to watch proceedings there closely and to report to me everything of importance. Mr. Ruiz Geary, the vice-consul, has done very well, and shown an intelligent zeal in the matter. To Sir John feel under great obligations. He has made it a point to give me all information in his possession at the earliest moment, and on this, like all other occasions, has shown none but the best feelings for our country.

I think the idea of retiring from San Domingo is growing stronger here every day. It undoubtedly would be the wisest policy, but none except a strong ministry will be equal to the task, and such a one does not at present exist. There is much ability in the cabinet, but its strength in the Cortes has not yet been tested.

The Archduke Maximilian has just returned to Miramare, and in a few days [Page 14] will formally accept the Mexican crown and assume the title of the “Emperor of the Mexicans.” Ambassadors and ministers will be immediately sent to the European powers before he embarks. The name of the person designed to represent him here is already given in the papers. I would thank you for an intimation as to the manner in which you desire me to regulate my conduct towards him. He will, of course, make me an official visit. Shall it be returned officially, or only privately?

Your obedient servant,


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