to Mr. Evarts.
St. Petersburg , December 14, 1880. (Received Jan. 3, 1881.)
Sir: I cannot refrain from reporting the highly favorable effect which the late annual message of President Hayes has had here as elsewhere in Europe, as I learn it in my intercourse with my diplomatic colleagues, the official and business men of this capital. The increased interest taken on this continent in American affairs was noticed in the unusually full abstract of the message transmitted by cable and the newspaper comments thereon. I hear only one expression manifested, and that one of wonder and praise at our peaceful and prosperous condition, and the healthy state of our political and financial affairs.
The subject which chiefly attracts attention is that of our national finances. While the governments of Europe are almost without exception annually increasing their expenses, it is to them most noteworthy that we continue from year to year redeeming and reducing our debt at a rate unprecedented in history, and that the President and Secretary of the Treasury propose to Congress to refund our loans at 3 or 3½ per cent, interest, thus placing our credit upon a level with that of the most stable and wealthy nations of the Old World. It is doubtful whether the triumphant results of our civil war have so strongly and so favorably impressed them with the permanency of our institutions as have these financial achievements. On account of these and of the high standard of honesty and efficiency which has marked all departments of our home government, the administration which is drawing to a close is regarded abroad as one of the most notable in our annals.
Adding to this the fact that our people have passed through an exciting electoral campaign and decided upon the transfer of the supreme power in peace, and quietly continued in their avocations and industries, it is gratifying to be able to report that the importance and standing of our country has been greatly elevated in the estimation of Europe, where we have ceased to be regarded with indifference or contempt.
I am, &c.,