Mr. Motley to Mr. Seward.

No. 219.]

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your despatch No. 207, of November 16th, in which you inform me that the President instructs me to ask an audience of his Majesty the Emperor, in order to congratulate him in the name of the United States upon his providential escape from an attempted assassination. Since my despatch No. 211, of October 31st, relating to that event, the process against the accused person has not been terminated. I am very happy to say, however, that the impressions prevalent at the first moment at the imperial royal foreign office, and among the public at large, have now been very much modified.

I have just received information from the imperial royal ministry of foreign affairs that the judicial investigations made thus far, in regard to the case, are highly unfavorable to the accuser, that the tale is now disbelieved, and that the acquittal of the supposed criminal is highly probable.

As the process at Prague is not yet ended, I have not alluded again to the subject in my despatches, preferring to wait until I could send an exact and authentic account of the trial and of its result.

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Meantime, after receiving the above-mentioned instructions of the President, I have, after consultation with the imperial royal minister of foreign affairs, taken the liberty of so far departing from them, in consequence of the change in circumstances from those which existed when my first despatch was written, as to omit asking for the audience suggested; but to express the sentiments of the President and of the people of the United States in a note to the minister.

I send herewith a copy of that note, and trust that it may meet the approval of the President. Such answer as may be received by me will, of course, be at once forwarded to you.

I have the honor to remain, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Motley to Baron de Beust.

The undersigned envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, has the honor to state that he has just received a despatch from the Secretary of State of the United States, conveying the instructions of the President that the undersigned should ask for an audience of his Majesty the Emperor, in order to congratulate him in the name of the United States upon his providential escape from the assassination attempted at Prague.

The instructions of the President were given immediately upon the receipt of the first intelligence sent by the undersigned at the moment when it was feared by the imperial royal government that an infamous attempt upon his Majesty’s life had really been made. The undersigned having at once called upon the imperial royal minister of foreign affairs to express in his own name and that of his government those sentiments of horror at the crime and of sincere joy that it had been unsuccessful, which were so universally felt, conveyed to the United States government the impressions in regard to the event at that moment prevalent.

Since that time he has been informed at the imperial royal foreign office that, although the process against the supposed criminal is not yet finished, the investigation as to his accuser, who claims to have been the savior of the Emperor’s life, are unfavorable, and that it is highly probable that the unfortunate person accused will be acquitted of the odious charge. These new circumstances would seem to make it inconsistent with decorum for the under-signed to ask for the honor of that audience which the President of the United States, under different impressions from those which now so fortunately prevail, had instructed him to request.

The undersigned, unwilling to revive in the mind of his Majesty those painful sentiments naturally inspired when so infamous and causeless a crime was believed to have been attempted, would now content himself with respectfully requesting his excellency Baron de Beust, minister of the imperial house and of foreign affairs, to intimate to his imperial Majesty the above-mentioned instructions of the President received by the undersigned, together with the assurance that nowhere in the world will the disprovai of the existence of the crime be received with more unalloyed satisfaction than in the United States.

The undersigned seizes this occasion to renew to his excellency Baron de Beust the assurance of his very high and distinguished consideration.