Mr. King to Mr. Seward.
Sir: * * * * * * * * *
I had the honor of an interview with his Holiness the Pope on the 19th instant, having called officially to tender my compliments upon the recurrence of another anniversary (the 21st) of his coronation. I found the Holy Father in excellent health and spirits, greatly gratified, no doubt, by the concourse of “the faithful” whom the approaching centenary of St. Peter’s day has attracted to Rome from every quarter of the globe. The sovereign Pontiff was especially [Page 709] anxious to obtain some reliable intelligence as to the probable fate of Maximilian, and seemed much relieved by my assurance that the government of the United States would use all its influence with the authorities of Mexico to save the unhappy prisoner’s life, and I felt every confidence that this intervention would prove successful. I find a very warm and general interest in Maximilian’s destiny among my colleagues of the diplomatic corps, and it would add not a little to the prestige which our country already enjoys in Europe should Maximilian be indebted for life and liberty to the friendly intercession of the United States.
The festival of Corpus Domini was celebrated in Rome yesterday with unwonted pomp and splendor. The procession around the magnificent piazza of St. Peters was the grandest spectacle that this imperial city has witnessed for centuries. Among the numerous ecclesiastics who took part in it were no less than 48 cardinals and 308 bishops; many of these from North and South America, from Africa, China, and “farthest Ind,” and from almost every country in Europe. A vast crowd occupied every available point in the great square, and when the pageant was over quietly separated without the slightest disturbance or disorder.
The feeling of uneasiness on the subject of the cholera, to which I alluded in a previous despatch, seems to have subsided, the disease itself thus far showing no symptoms of increase.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.