Mr. Bancroft to Mr. Seward.
Sir : This day has been one of greatest interest in the history of Germany, being marked by the organization of the first imperial Diet assembled under the new constitution of North Germany. The protestant members of the Parliament met in advance, for religious service, in the King’s chapel. The King, the Crown prince and princess, and other members of the royal family, the chiefs of [Page 586]the diplomatic corps, and the great officers of the State and of the army were present, and were all seated on the floor of the chapel. The glitter of official uniforms was as great as I ever saw, there being but one person in plain clothes among all those who were invited to attend. The services were appropriate, and implied the assurance that the movement towards union, as yet incomplete, has proceeded thus far with the favor of Providence,
The Catholic members of the Diet held their services apart.
After these exercises were over the Diet repaired to the White Hall, remaining standing. The King, as he entered and took his seat, was heartily cheered. The proceedings were in conformity to the usage of constitutional governments. The president minister put into the King’s hands the speech which he was to read, when the King rising from his throne, put on his helmet, and read the speech in a clear and simple manner, without emphasis or display, or any attempt at theatrical effect. At the close of the speech, and as the King withdrew, he was again warmly cheered.
I enclose an official copy of the speech. The points in it to which I would especially direct your attention are the second paragraph, which implies that there is a German nation including the South German provinces, as well as the North ; that the measures thus far taken for the commercial union with the German states is but a “ step,” though an important one, and that the German “feeling” has been an instrument of happy political activity. It also merits the remark that the constitution is described as a work of peace, of which the advantages are to be enjoyed in peace.
I remain, sir, yours, sincerely,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.