Mr. Campbell to Mr. Seward

No. 3.]

Sir: In my despatch of the 20th instant I had the honor to inform you of my arrival here, and of an interview with Count Manderstrom, his Majesty’s minister of state and of foreign affairs. Upon the return of the King from Ouland, on the 23d instant, I received a note from Count Manderstrom informing me that my audience with his Majesty would take place at the palace on Saturday, the 24th instant, at three-quarters past one o’clock p. m., and a subsequent note informing me that on Sunday, the 25th instant, I would be presented to her Majesty the Queen at the royal palace of Ulriksdale. At the appointed time on Saturday I was accordingly taken in charge by the grand master of ceremonies and King’s chamberlain, and conducted in the King’s carriage, with the usual ceremonies, to the palace. My interview with his Majesty, after the customary salutations, was cordial and unceremonious; I could not have been received more kindly by any gentleman in Europe. In delivering my letter of credence, I assured his Majesty that I was charged to convey to his Majesty the distinguished consideration and personal regards of the President of the United States, and to express the earnest desire that the amicable relations, both commercial and political, existing between the government of the United States and that of his Majesty, might be perpetuated. I took occasion to say during the interview that the President of the United States felt assured that the same enlightened judgment and experienced statesmanship that so ably directed affairs in his Majesty’s kingdoms, secured to the Executive and people of the United States, engaged in sustaining an established and Christian government, his Majesty’s profound sympathy, The King reciprocated my friendly expressions, and avowed himself sincerely desirous of continuing amicable relations with the government of the United States.

My subsequent interview with the Queen at Chateau Ulriksdale was as agreeable as interesting. Her Majesty was pleased to make many inquiries about the productions, climate, and people of my country, and appeared well informed concerning the United States. A note from Count Manderstrom informs me that the Queen Dowager Josephine will grant me audience at her country-seat of Drottingholm on the evening of, and immediately before, the ball to be given by her to their royal highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales. On that occasion I will probably be presented to to the other members the royal family, thus completing the ceremony of reception.

In this connexion I may with propriety state that in my audiences with their Majesties I was preceded by Mr. Mora, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the emperor of Mexico. At a dinner given by Count Manderstrom, minister of state and of foreign affairs, the various honors which Swedish etiquette permits upon such occasions were bestowed upon the representatives of the continent of America, being distributed between the Mexican envoy, the retiring American minister, and his successor. The reception of Mr. Mora in his official capacity by the king will, it is believed, be followed by the establishment of a minister plenipotentiary of Mexico near his Majesty, unless circumstances of marked significance mar the plans of the emperor of that country.

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The Swedish military and naval departments having in charge the subject of military mining, have of late been making a series of experiments under the direction of Colonel J. P. Shaffner, who claims to be a loyal citizen of Kentucky, in the Malar lake. Colonel Shaffner claims to be able to explode a mine in water, or in earth at any distance, say within twenty miles, with fuzes so [Page 186] constructed that there cannot be a failure of explosion instantaneously. The apparatus, or battery, is so portable that a youth can carry it from point to point, and so simple that it is always ready for use. He can explode one mine or one hundred at the same time or consecutively. I have seen the wrecks of the gunboats destroyed by Colonel Shaffner experimentally. Their destruction was complete. He has been able to explode a mine here at the distance of one and one-half mile, want of additional wire having limited the experiment to that distance, while the military authorities here having the subject in charge were only able to pass a spark over six hundred feet of wire.

Military men have informed me that during the battle of Alsen Colonel Shaffner, at 5 a. m., was ordered to mine a narrow strip of land, having the sea on both sides, over which the Danish army was obliged to retreat. Before 9 o’clock a. m. the mine was finished, and for a period of three days fifteen thousand Prussians remained in sight of the Danish army, not daring to traverse the mined territory. When the royal commission shall report upon the invention and experiments of Colonel Shaffner, I shall take pleasure in forwarding a copy to the Department of State.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,


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