Mr. Wright to Mr. Seward.

No. 17.]

Sir : The Luxemburg question has been the all-absorbing topic of conversation during the past few days, especially among the members of the Reichstag. On Monday Vice-President Bennigsen, on behalf of the Liberal party, asked the Prussian cabinet what truth there was in the various rumors concerning the cession by Holland of Luxemburg to France. Count Bismarck replied at once to the inquiry. (See enclosed memorandum of the points in his remarks.)

Probably no event would so tend to hasten the deliberations of the Parliament, or unify the German people, as much as a movement to cede a foot of what they consider their territory to a foreign power, and especially when that power is France. There are signs that since last year the feeling of animosity among the Germans towards the French has been increasing, and a war at this time against Napoleon would be more popular even than the war of last summer against Austria.

From what has taken place in Berlin between the Russian minister and the Prussian foreign office, it may be conceded that an understanding if not an actual treaty exists between the two cabinets concerning the eastern question and internal affairs of Germany.

* * * * * * * *

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


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

Vice-President Bennigsen’s and Count Bismarck’s remarks in the Parliament on the 1st instant.

In Monday’s sitting of the Reichstag Herr von Bennigsen asked whether the rumors of negotiations between Holland and France for the cession of the grand duchy of Luxemburg to the latter power were well founded, and whether the Prussian government was in a position to make communications to Parliament to the effect that it is determined, together with its federal allies, to secure permanently against every danger the connection of Luxemburg with the rest of Germany, and especially Prussia’s right to garrison the capital of the grand duchy. Herr von Bennigsen, moreover, declared that all parties will be united in giving [Page 580]the government their most powerful support to prevent the separation of an ancient German land from the rest of Germany.

In answer, Count de Bismarck said :

“We value amicable relations with France and avoid wounding her susceptibilities. I cannot, therefore, reply to the second portion of the interpellation, as to the course that may be adopted in this matter by the Prussian government in concert with its federal allies. Your language becomes a representative of the nation, but is not diplomatic. Respecting your first question, asking for information in regard to the rumored negotiations between Holland and France for the cession of the duchy to the latter, I may state that nothing is known of the conclusion of such an arrangement between those states. The federal allied governments believe that no foreign power will endanger the undoubted rights of Germany. We hope to protect them more safely in a peaceful way the more the debates in Parliament shall show the indissoluble ties between the government and the people.”