Mr. John C. Wright to Mr. Seward.

No. 12.]

Sir :* * * * * * *

Yesterday, the 24th, the King of Prussia in person opened the North German parliament.

The royal family, with the various princes and princesses, together with the ambassadors, ministers, &c, were present.

I herewith enclose you the speech in German delivered by his Majesty. The points in it are about as follows : The King said :

Important events have caused the assembling of delegates, and great hopes depend on your deliberations. For centuries the German race had vainly endeavored to make a starting point toward German unity, but had always failed, and would again if we did not recognize the cause which prevented our forefathers obtaining it.

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Germany was once mighty, great and honored, because united and led by strong hands. She fell because divided. Robbed of her weight in Europe’s council, of her influence in her own destiny, she became dismembered, and was at once the battle-field of foreign powers.

The old spirit for unity among us has never ceased to show signs of vitality ; we have longed for the lost blessings, and the history of bur age is replete with endeavors to reunite our fatherland. I thank my allies for the readiness with which they have responded to the needs of our common country.

As inheritor of the Prussian crown, I feel strong in the conviction that the successes of Prussia have been only steps toward the restoration and elevation of German power and honor.

As soon as the deliberations of parliament shall have progressed sufficiently far to make treaties, &c, we will extend our hands cordially toward our southern brethren. As the tendency of the German spirit is always towards peace and labor, so will the allied German states bear essentially a defensive character. Only for defence, and not for attack, is the German race seeking to be united from the Alps to the sea.

At several points in the speech his Majesty was applauded. It has been warmly extolled by the Prussians and well received by the foreign ministers. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,


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

[Translation, in substance, of the proceedings of the “Reichstag”—February, 1867.]

Illustrious, noble and honorable gentlemen of the Reichstag of the North German Union :

It is a moment for exultation when I come into your midst. Great events have brought it about; great hopes are connected with it. It is granted to me to meet in union with an assembly which for centuries has not surrounded any German prince, and to give expression to these hopes. For this I thank the providence of God which has guided Germany to purposes and aims which her people hankered after, but did not select nor foresee the means to attain.

Trusting in this guidance, we shall advance the more rapidly in that direction and the more clearly understand the causes which led us and our forefathers astray, through retrospective glances at German history.

Once powerful, great, and honored, while united and directed by strong hands, the German empire sank, not free from blameworthy association, into dismemberment and weakness.

Deprived of importance in the councils of Europe, and of influence over her own destiny, Germany became the chosen battle-ground of foreign powers, on which the blood of her sons was poured forth. Never, however, has the earnest desire of the German people for their lost prosperity been unheard, and the history of our times is full of the exertions again to restore the great past of Germany and of the German nation.

If these efforts have not yet attained their object ; if vain efforts have been made to establish a starting point toward German unity, they will again fail if we do not recognize the causes which prevented our forefathers from attaining it.

The old spirit of unity has never ceased to give signs of vitality ; we have longed for the lost blessing, and the history of our age is replete with endeavors to reunite the fatherland ; we recognize the effective good will with which our allies came to the aid of our common cause and country.

As inheritor of the Prussian crown, I am proud and strong in the conviction that the achievements of Prussia and their consequences will be only sure steps toward the re-establishment and exaltation of German power and German dignity.

When the deliberations of the delegates shall have progressed sufficiently in the arrangement of public affairs, we shall cordially extend our proffer to our brethren of south Germany, urging them to unite with us. They will, earlier or later, as so many independent governments bound together by common ties of interest of blood and of German association.

I trust in God our combined efforts will put an end to any future divisions among Germans, and that our children will ever regard with gratitude ‘this Reichstag as the founder of German unity, freedom, and power through all time.

Gentlemen, all Germany, even beyond the present limits of our union, patiently awaits the, resolutions which shall here be adopted.

May our common action, the dream of centuries, be carried into fulfilment amid the blessings of all ages.

In the name of all united governments—in the name of all Germany—I give you my confidence ; help us to carry through this great national task boldly and surely.

The blessing of God to us all who carry out the task and work of the fatherland.

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