Mr. Bancroft to Mr. Seward.
Sir : Yesterday I had by appointment a long interview at the foreign office with two members of the privy council, Messrs. Philipsborn and Koenig on the subject of the claim of Prussia to the military service of Prussians naturalized in America.
I produced to them the old Roman law on the subject, which coincides exactly with the principle asserted by America and gives it a sanction of more than two thousand years.
The question was thoroughly discussed in all its connections, with military service, with commerce, and with those laws of maritime neutrality which Germany, no less than America, has the greatest reason to uphold.
But that which produced the most effect on the minds of the Prussian councillors was the statement that the American view of the question had been practically conceded by England and deliberately confirmed by France.
They did not make a protocol of what passed between us, but requested me, pro memoria, to put in writing the statements which I made with regard to Great Britain, France, and the United States.
I enclose to you a copy of the letter which I have in consequence written to Mr. Philipsborn, and which Í trust will meet your approval and that of the President.
I remain, sir, yours, sincerely,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.