Mr. Yeaman to Mr. Seward.
Sir: Admiral Farragut arrived off this capital with his fleet on the 13th instant, and after exchanging salutes with the forts in the harbor, was visited [Page 684] and welcomed to the city by the commandant of the naval station. He at once sent Lieutenant Commander Watson, of his staff, on shore to announce his arrival to me, and to ask when he might wait upon me at the legation. I at once asked permission to make the first visit to the Admiral on board his flagship, and started with his aid to do so, but we learned the Admiral was already on shore, and he immediately called at my house. On the 16th the Admiral and Mrs. Farragut, the captains, and the two senior commanders, a part of the staff, the Danish ministers of marine and of war, the envoys and ministers of the diplomatic corps, and the American ladies accompanying their husbands of the fleet, were invited to dine at my house. I much regretted the absence from town of Count Frijs, the minister for foreign affairs, and the more so as he has expressed a desire to meet with the Admiral during his European cruise.
On the 18th the Admiral gave a reception on board the flag-ship Franklin, which was attended by several members of the Danish cabinet and several members of the diplomatic corps, who were duly saluted in the order of their precedence. Music, dancing, and a most elegant collation were enjoyed by the ladies and gentlemen present. In the evening of the same day General Raasloff, the Danish minister of war, entertained the visitors and several prominent Danes in a most hospitable and elegant manner;
On the 19th I had a special audience of his Majesty the King, for the presentation of the Admiral and eight of his principal officers, Captains Pennock, Strong, Le Roy, Wyman, Harmony, Foltz, and Shirk, and Commander Watson. I had previously received a very kind note from General Othohu, grand marshal of the palace, regretting that the absence of the Queen, and the deep mourning of the royal family on account of the recent death of the Queen’s father, had prevented such attentions to the Admiral and his distinguished officers as they would otherwise have paid them, and asking them and myself to dine with the King at 6 o’clock at his country chateau. At the presentation the King cordially repeated the invitation in person. At dinner we met the King of the Greeks, the Crown Prince of Denmark, and two of the King’s brothers. It was in all respects an agreeable and exquisite piece of hospitality, and our distinguished officers properly felt that under the circumstances it was an extremely kind and complimentary attention on the part of the King. The King first drank with the Admiral, proposing “the prosperity and happiness of the United States;” to which the Admiral appropriately responded. Soon afterwards his Majesty proposed to me his “pleasure at meeting so many of my (your) renowned and heroic countrymen,” and for which I thanked him, as well as for his very polite attentions to them. He drank the healths of Captains Pennock, Strong, and Le Roy, and again proposed with the Admiral, “the most renowned of naval captains,” which disconcerted the patriot hero far more than the battle of Mobile or the gauntlet of the forts. Being said in a low, soft tone, I did not know precisely what was done in time to volunteer any verbal assistance. The King probably wanted no response or speech-making, and in any event the Admiral’s modest silence and earnest bow, with” thank your Majesty,” was the most impressive answer.
The King of the Greeks, the crown prince, and the other gentlemen present, expressed a lively desire to be acquainted with the Admiral and his officers, and I had the pleasure of presenting them all during the evening. They spoke with enthusiastic admiration of the Admiral’s naval exploits, with which they seemed quite familiar, especially the King of the Greeks, who was educated for the Danish navy; was in the service when elected King, and has a keen appreciation for daring naval feats. He will soon return to Athens by the way of St. Petersburg, where he will be married next month to the eldest daughter of the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia. He gave our officers a most pressing invitation to visit his country before returning to the United States, and expressed himself to me as being very much gratified with the resolution of Congress concerning Cretan affairs.[Page 685]
I desire to render my distinct and emphatic testimony of the extremely happy and favorable impression which the accomplished officers of the Admiral’s fleet have made on this court and on public opinion here. They are an honor to the American name and the American naval service, and wherever they have gone the effect of their visit and their intercourse with society has been an unmixed advantage to our reputation and to our political interests.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.