No. 535.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Cushing.

No. 187.]

Sir: Tour dispatch No. 379, on the subject of the reception of the Papal nuncio, and your visit to him, has been read with much interest.

While the probabilities seem to be almost entirely against the possibility of the restoration of any temporal power to the Pope, he is still recognized as a sovereign by many of the powers of the world, which receive from him diplomatic representatives in the person of either a nuncio, or a legate, or possibly in some other capacity, and which powers also accredit to him certain diplomatic representatives.

With all such arrangements this Government abstains from interference or criticism. It is the right of those powers to determine such questions for themselves; and when one of them, at whose court this Government has a representative, receives a representative from the Pope, of higher rank than that of the representative of the United States, it becomes the duty of the latter to observe toward the Pope’s representative [Page 1120] the same courtesies and formality of the first visit, prescribed by the conventional rules of intercourse and ceremonial, and of the precedence of diplomatic agents, which have been adopted, and almost invariably acted upon, for the last sixty years.

In the case which forms the subject of your very interesting dispatch, you pursued the course which alone would have been expected from one of your accustomed prudence, and of your experience and familiarity with the proprieties of such occasions.

I am, &c.,