Mr. Fox to Mr. Seward
Sir: On the 30th September last, I submitted to you a hasty narrative of the reception which I met with in Russia, whilst executing your instructions in delivering personally to the sovereign of that country the resolution of Congress expressive of the feelings of the people of the United States in reference to his providential escape from the hand of an assassin. I have recorded in that narrative the remarks of the Emperor and the various demonstrations of the people, which manifested their gratification at the sympathy felt for them by the American people. I have endeavored in this way to comply with the wish often repeated to me by his Majesty to make known to the government and my countrymen the feelings of friendship which existed in Russia towards America. But all that I have written myself and all that was written for the press, by persons far more capable than, I feel myself to be, to describe the manifestations of these feelings, fails to convey any adequate idea of the enthusiasm which pervades the people of Russia towards the United States, and their sincere wishes for the continued prosperity and power of our country. The expression [Page 383] of the sympathy felt by the Emperor for this country in its great struggle; for national unity, made by Prince Gortchacoff in 1861,.when several of the great powers of Europe were co-operating in the effort to destroy it and taking measures to profit by its destruction, was gratefully appreciated by the government and people of the United States as a timely and effective demonstration in our behalf. But it was not until 1 had traversed so great a part of the Russian empire, and witnessed how cordial and widespread among all classes in that powerful country was the friendship for America, that I appreciated the practical importance of the Emperor’s sympathy, in its bearings upon the course of our great contest and in its influence upon the conduct of other nations towards us.
The crowds that gathered around us at every social meeting singing the plaintive national songs; the flowers presented by the hands of beauty and innocence; the numerous presents offered upon all suitable occasions; the imperial honor granted at Kostroma of casting down their garments for us to walk upon; the deep feeling which the great mass of the people evinced whenever the name of our country was mentioned, and the very many touching incidents which such sympathies evoked, were not produced by curiosity or instigated by officials. The Russians have been familiar with royal embassies from powerful and magnificent courts for many centuries. It was a heart impulse of the people in favor of our country which occasioned these extraordinary demonstrations towards the messenger of good will, founded on their instinctive knowledge that whilst our countries were widely separated from each other on the globe and in forms of government, there was yet a community of interest on great points which identified the friendships of the people with patriotism itself.
It may serve to illustrate the prevailing feeling respecting the relations of the two countries, to state that I saw at the residence of Prince Gortchacoff, in St. Petersburg, a beautiful model in steel of one of Ericsson’s monitors, a form of vessel now associated in the popular mind with American genius and power, which had been presented to the Prince as a grateful recognition of the part he had borne as his Majesty’s minister of foreign affairs.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.