Mr. Orr to Mr. Fish.
St. Petersburg, March 18, 1873. (Received April 9.)
Sir: I respectfully report that I arrived at St Petersburg on Saturday evening, March 15, On Sunday Mr. Schuyler addressed a note to Prince Gortchacow, informing him of my arrival, and inquiring when I could have an interview with him to arrange the time for the presentation of my credentials to the Emperor. The prince replied that afternoon, stating that he would grant the interview at half past twelve o’clock on Monday.
I called at that hour, was introduced by Mr. Schuyler, and had a short but agreeable interview with the prince. He referred to the Catacazy affair, and expressed regret at its occurrence. He said that Catacazy was a shrewd man, of good ability, and a fine writer, who had been with him four or five years in the foreign office, who he thought would be of great service in America, but that he turned out a meddlesome fellow, greatly lacking in judgment. He was therefore no longer in the service of the government.
The prince inquired how Baron d’Offenberg had been received by our Government, and when I said to him that his reception was most hearty and cordial, and that his general bearing had been so discreet that he had made many friends outside of official circles, as well as within them, he expressed the highest satisfaction.
The prince informed me that the Emperor would grant me an audience to present my credentials at half past one o’clock to-day, (Tuesday.) I accordingly went to the palace at that hour and was received by His Majesty the Emperor Alexander. On presenting my credentials I delivered a very brief address to His Majesty, (of which I inclose herewith a copy, marked A.) The Emperor, in reply, heartily reciprocated the sentiments of kind feeling, good fellowship, and enduring peace between the two governments. The Emperor referred to the Catacazy affair as an unpleasant incident, which had happily passed away, and expressed his gratification on being assured that the reception of Baron d’Offenberg by our Government had been cordial, and that his general conduct had so warmly commended him in official and unofficial circles. The Emperor then adverted to the visit of the Grand Duke Alexis, his son, to America, and said that his sensibilities were deeply touched by the hospitable and distinguished reception given him by the American people, and that these demonstrations were accepted by him, not so much as a personal tribute to the Grand Duke, as a manifestation of friendship and respect to the Russian government, as their oldest and most steadfast friend in Europe. The interview was not protracted, but all of its incidents were cordial and pleasant.
From the remarks both of the Emperor and of Prince Gortchacow, I am of the opinion that the Catacazy affair has left no unpleasant feelings behind it.
I have, &c.,