to Mr. Blaine.
Paris, March 25, 1881. (Received April 7.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I was, on Monday, the 21st day of the present month, admitted to a private audience with the President of the French Republic, and that I delivered to him the autograph letter of the President of the United States inviting the French Government and people to unite with the Government and people of the United States in a commemorative celebration of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown.[Page 406]
President Grévy received the letter very graciously, and said:
I receive with pleasure the invitation of which you are the bearer, and I thank the Government of the United States for having thought of extending it to us.
As in the great undertaking of securing American independence France, it is true, had some trouble, she will take her share of the joy which the celebration of the centennial of the achievement of that undertaking will bring.
During the hundred years which have elapsed since the heroic feat which the contemplated centennial will commemorate the United States have developed themselves marvelously. France has been the sympathetic witness of that prosperity, and her government will be happy to accept the invitation extended to it and the nation.
The interview was altogether informal, and my part in it was very brief and simple, as seemed to me befitting the occasion.
The President was very cordial, and was evidently very much pleased with the invitation.
I also sent to Mr. Oscar de Lafayette, with a brief note of transmittal, the invitation for him and other members of the Lafayette family. He is very ill at the present time, and sent me word by a member of his family that he would transmit to me, as soon as possible, a formal acknowledgment of the exceedingly kind, thoughtful, and polite invitation of my government.
I have, &c.,