Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I received in common with the other foreign ministers here a communication from M. Rogier, under date of the 3d instant, announcing that a funeral service would be held to day at the church of Saints Michel and Gudull, “in memory of his Majesty the Emperor Maximillian,” and that places would be reserved for the diplomatic corps.
The same reasons which guided me with respect to going into mourning for the brother-in-law of the King, as given in my No. 433, governed me in abstaining from taking part at this religious ceremony, where the King and royal family, the ministers and others functionaries of the government, and the rest of the diplomatic corps were present.
I went after the service to the foreign office to see M. Rogier, and as he was out, requested the secretary general to say to him that while I would forego no suitable opportunity of manifesting my sympathy for the King and royal family on their bereavement, his communication had been made to me in a form to render my presence on this occasion impossible, as implying a sort of retrospective recognition of a political status that we had ever denied, and that I would have esteemed the omission to notify me quite as courteous as given in that form.[Page 641]
Baron Lambermont replied that my abstention had not been unlooked for as a logical result of our position with regard to Mexico, and he felt assured that it would not be construed by his Majesty in any unfavorable sense. With regard to sending me the notification in that form, it had seemed more proper, he continued, to make it in the same terms to me as to the other foreign ministers, and that the abstaining to send me any, or one in other terms, had appeared also open to criticism.
I did not pursue the subject further. It seemed an ungracious act in the midst of this mourning to refer to it, but I did not feel that I could properly pass the matter over in silence.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.