Mr. Yeaman to Mr. Seward.
Sir: By the treaty of Vienna, terminating the duchy war of 1863–’64 between Denmark and Germany, and by the provisions of which Schleswig and Holstein were ceded to Prussia and Austria, it was stipulated that they should pay to Denmark an amount equal to that proportion of the Danish public debt which should be to the whole debt as the two duchies were to the whole kingdom of Denmark before the war. The amount was to be ascertained by commissioners, who afterwards stated it at 29,000,000 rigsdalers. When by the treaty of Prague Austria ceded [Page 89] her interest in the duchies to Prussia, the duty of performing this stipulation of the treaty of Vienna naturally devolved on Prussia. Accordingly the payment of the whole amount of 29,000,000 has recently been completed, having been heretofore partially effected. The payment was made principally in two forms: in Russian four per cent, stocks, and in such securities representing the Danish debt as were found in the hands of charitable, educational, and monetary institutions in the two duchies, and for which Prussia substituted her own securities—the policy of this measure being, no doubt, to identify the interests of the duchies more perfectly with Prussia. The payment to Denmark has been made without reference to other questions pending between the two governments, and has no relation to any further steps in the negotiation about the fulfillment of the fifth article of the treaty of Prague, providing for a vote of the people of North Schleswig to ascertain whether they would remain with Prussia or return to Denmark.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.