Mr. Everett to Mr. Blaine
Berlin , September 27, 1881. (Received October 13.)
Sir: Referring to your instruction No. 240, of July 30 last, tendering, by direction of the President, an invitation to the representatives of Baron von Steuben’s family in Germany to attend the celebration of the anniversary of the surrender of the British army at Yorktown on the 19th of October, 1781, as guests of the Government of the United States, and to the subsequent correspondence between the Department of State and this legation on this subject, I have the honor to inform you that the six German officers enumerated in a list heretofore transmitted, accompanied by a seventh descendant, Baron von Steuben, superintendent of Prussian crown lands, and an ex-officer of the Prussian army, whose acceptance of the invitation has been more recently received, will sail from Hamburg on the 28th instant, on the steamer “Herder,” which will probably reach New York on or about the 11th of October.[Page 491]
In anticipation of formal notice of acceptance through the imperial foreign office, and since the receipt of the same, several of these gentlemen have called at this legation to express their sense of what they regard as the very high honor shown them, and their great gratification at being able to accept, the Emperor having directed that they should be dispensed from attendance at the autumn maneuvers, and that a leave of absence of eight weeks should be given them for the voyage.
Colonel von Steuben, of the Seventy-ninth Regiment, the head of the family, stated that the Emperor was delighted and touched by this evidence of the gratitude of the United States towards a German officer who had served them, and that His Majesty had expressed the wish that the invitation should be accepted. Another of the gentlemen said that it had given great satisfaction to Prince Bismarck also.
A hearty appreciation of the recognition extended to their countrymen, the descendants of the distinguished soldier of the Revolution, is shown by all classes of Germans.
In response to the inquiries of these guests of the nation as to what they were to do and to whom to report upon reaching the United States, the legation has, while stating that its government had not instructed it on these points, informed them that they will be officially received upon landing at New York, and duly cared for as became the occasion.
There being no funds available at the legation to meet the large expenditure necessary for seven first-class passages to the United States, I have, in view of the telegram from the Department stating that our government will defray expenses, taken the liberty to request the Hamburg American Steamship Company to present their bill to the Department of State, through their agents at New York. Copies and translations of the notes received from the foreign office on the subject are inclosed.
In conclusion I beg to assure you that nothing has been left undone by this legation which could contribute to make the invitation of our government gratifying to its guests.
I have, &c.,